SIU Baseball Players weigh-in on successful season thus far


Jared Treece | @bisalo

The Salukis’ Baseball team huddles after the Salukis 9-1 win over Western Illinois to help extend their undefeated season to eight wins on Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021 at Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

Saluki Baseball currently sits at 13-4 in the 2022 season with losses against ULM, Western Michigan, Arkansas at Little Rock and UT Martin. SIU won the other games in the series by a combined 32 runs.

Junior pitcher Jordan Gould said the Salukis have a lot of confidence this season based on their play.

“We’ve started off pretty well. Every team is going to lose games but we just need to learn from it,” Gould said, “We have a really solid team with a lot of team chemistry. I’m excited to see what we can do this year.”


The Salukis have a lot of pressure on their shoulders after their 40-20 season last year. Junior infielder Cody Cleveland said the Dawgs are living up to the hype.

“When we play our best game, we’re better than every team we’ve played thus far. We firmly believe we have more talent than anyone else on the field,” Cleveland said.

The Salukis are coming off of a loss against University of Tennessee-Martin on Tuesday, March 15. Senior outfielder JT Weber said the team didn’t feel great after the loss.

“We have to take a step back and learn from it. We can’t take any games for granted, so we need to come out with more intensity and passion,” Weber said.

Weber was just recently awarded the Missouri Valley Conference’s player of the week. He said he appreciates the recognition.

“I caught fire last week and got pretty hot, so it felt good to help the team win some games,” Weber said.

SIU’s momentum is only growing as the team keeps multiplying its wins. This is important as the conference schedule begins in just over a week.


“The conference games are really hard. The intensity in those games are just different. I think it all just depends on how we react to it,” Cleveland said, “But if we rise to the occasion, then we’re going to do exactly what we have been doing since the beginning of the year.”

According to Cleveland, this success is sustainable. The Salukis believe they can beat any team on any given day.

“You want to be playing your best baseball as soon as conference starts. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but we have some time to get there,” Cleveland said, “We envision ourselves being very, very good by the end of May.”

That includes teams in the Missouri Valley. Weber said SIU envisions themselves at the top of the conference.

“When we play hard we’re as good as anybody. We have a real shot to win the conference schedule and, hopefully, win a regional,” Weber said.

Regionals are essentially the deciding factor for playing in the College Baseball World Series. The best teams in the region are seeded 1-4 in a double-elimination tournament, and will play multiple games to see who comes out on top.

If the Salukis win the regional, they will join 15 other schools in playing for the super-regionals. From here on out it is more of a single-elimination bracket format.

Southern Illinois’ manager Lance Rhodes is a big part of this teams’ success according to the players. Cleveland said SIU has put itself in position for this success due to Rhodes’ eye for talent over the years.

“He’s an incredible recruiter. The amount of talent he brings in whether it’s JUCO or other transfers is just amazing,” Cleveland said.

Weber said Rhodes has untapped SIU’s potential.

“Coach Rhodes is great. He manages the game very well and he has done a great job of finding different roles for everyone on the team,” Weber said, “He’s a coach that’s always prepared. Which makes us feel confident heading into games.”

Despite SIU’s impressive play, the players still understand they have room to grow. Weber said the team needs to be better when it comes to their toughness and consistency.

“On the field, things are going to come around,” Weber said, “But when we get on the field we need to be ready to play and play with energy. There have been a few days where we have been caught sleeping.”

If SIU puts all of the pieces together, the players agree the Salukis have an incredibly high ceiling.

“The sky’s the limit. I think we’re capable of anything we want to accomplish,” Gould said.

In SIU’s next matchup, the Salukis host the University of Illinois in Itchy Jones Stadium from March 18-20. A staple win over a Big Ten opponent would be huge for the program.

“We’re really looking forward to this weekend against Illinois. We’re going to come out and be much more present than we were in our last game. We want there to be more intent behind everything we do,” Cleveland said.

Weber agrees this will be a good weekend to right the ship.

“It’ll be a good test for us to see where we are at in this point of the season. If we go out there and win the series, that should be a big momentum swing for us and give us more confidence heading into conference.”

Sports Reporter Cole Daily can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at cdaily_de. To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.