Blackfan’s homer proves to be the difference in victory

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

A home run by sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan in the eighth inning gave the Salukis a 7-6 lead in the first Missouri Valley Conference game of the year.

The Cordova, Tenn., native drove a 2-0 pitch deep over the left field wall with SIU (19-11-1) trailing 6-5. It gave the Salukis the lead for good and a win over Indiana State (19-10) on Friday. The win snapped the Sycamores five-game winning streak leading up to the game.

“I knew I hit the ball pretty good I just wasn’t sure if it was going out so in my head I was kinda cheering like ‘get up, get up,'” Blackfan said. 

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Freshman pitcher Seth Hackett (1-1, 1.15 ERA) got the win in relief. Sycamore sophomore pitcher Jeremy McKinney (2-2, 2.22 ERA) took the loss. Sophomore closer Ryan Netemeyer (0-1, 0.54 ERA) picked up his seventh save.

The first batter Netemeyer faced out of the bullpen hit a deep drive that was just a few feet from going out, but settled in sophomore outfielder Greg Lambert’s glove at the warning track.

“It’s always a relief to come out and get that first out,” Netemeyer said. “He put a good swing on the ball and it was nice to see it not go over the wall.”

Junior pitcher Joey Marciano (2-3, 4.17 ERA) left the game after the fifth inning with a no-decision. Marciano gave up three home runs and walked two.

The Salukis fell behind 4-0 early but rallied for three runs in the third. They stranded 11 runners and were 3-15 at the plate with runners on.

“This was an ugly win for us, probably the ugliest all year, but it’s still a win,” coach Ken Henderson said. “Our guys didn’t stop believing and we strung together some good at-bats late and it just shows you how resilient these players are.”

Junior outfielder Dyllin Mucha pinch hit in the eighth with the bases loaded and two down. He drove in two runs to give the Salukis a 5-4 lead.

The Sycamores scored two runs off senior reliever Jacob Williams to regain the lead before Blackfan’s home run.

A total of 16 batters were walked between seven pitchers in the game with 11 Salukis drawing walks.

SIU will play Indiana State at 2 p.m. Saturday at Itchy Jones Stadium. Junior pitcher Chad Whitmer (3-0, 2.51 ERA) will get the start.

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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