8th Inning rally helps SIU stun SEMO in extra innings

By Joseph Bernard, Staff Reporter

After being down by 5 runs entering the bottom of the eighth, the Salukis rallied back from a 6-1 in the eighth inning to force extras and beat SEMO in the 11th inning off junior Jack Rigoni’s walk-off home run for the 7-6 win.

The Salukis were highlighted by offensive performances from Rigoni, who went a team-high 4/5 at the plate on the night, including his walk-off homer. Rigoni went around the base-path three times to score as well and was walked once too. Senior J.T Weber had himself a night too, with the game-tying 3-run homer in the eighth to help the Saluki’s efforts. Weber went 2/5 at the plate with four RBI’s on the night.

SIU’s starting pitcher on the night was junior Jake Combs. He went 3.1 innings while giving up four runs off five hits and two walks and struck out three. It was junior Matthew Steidl who ended up earning his fourth win of the year in this one. He pitched 3 shutout, no-hit innings and struck out five in the process.

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After Combs gave up a run in the first, SIU earned it back off a single by Weber through the left side. The third and fourth innings saw the Redhawks earn three more runs, one in the third and two in the fourth off two separate doubles. The eighth came and after a hit by pitch from senior reliever Trey McDaniel, he then gave up a two-run homer, making it a 6-1 lead for the Redhawks.

Then came the Salukis turn in the bottom half of the eighth. Two separate walks gave sophomore Evan Martin and junior Nick Hagedorn free bases. While pinch-hitting for senior Grey Epps, sopohomor Jeremy Schork hit a double down the right field line to score Martin and Hagedorn, making it 6-3. Then, after striking out swinging, Rigoni reached off a passed ball by SEMO. Weber would ultimately make SEMO pay by hitting his game-tying home run out to center field.

After two more quiet innings by both SEMO and SIU in the ninth and tenth innings, Rigoni smacked his first home run of the season out to left-field to lift the Salukis past rival school SEMO with a 7-6 final in extras.

The Salukis will be back in action for alumni weekend against Valparaiso for a three game set. Game one is set for a 6 p.m first pitch on Friday evening.

Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001.

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