Salukis snap four-game skid with win over UT Martin


Mary Newman

Senior Michael Baird, 31, of Parker, Colo. pitches on Friday, March 23, 2018, during the Saluki’s 2-6 loss against University of California, Irvine at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE)

The Saluki baseball team (7-10) got back in the win column Tuesday night as they took down the Skyhawks (5-13) in Martin, Tennessee by a score of 6-2.

An encouraging sign for SIU was the great outing on the mound from their pitching staff. Junior Jake Combs turned in 6.1 innings pitched of two-run ball scattering seven hits and striking out six without allowing a free pass. Senior Matthew Steidl relieved Combs in the bottom of the seventh and ended up being rewarded with a win after finishing the game, going 2.2 scoreless innings while only allowing one hit.

UT Martin actually outhit the Salukis 8-7 but squandered their opportunities with runners on. A big moment was Steidl inducing a 5-4-3 double play immediately after giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out the following batter to retire the side and get a huge shutdown frame for the Dawgs. SIU also was issued four walks compared to their pitchers only allowing one walk.


From the leadoff spot, Nathan Bandy went 3-for-5 with a double, two stolen bases, and a run scored for SIU. Steven Loden had a 2-for-3 day including a huge two-run double late in the game that proved to be the game-winning hit. Six different Salukis scored a run on the path to defeating UT Martin.

The Skyhawks recorded their only two runs in the bottom half of the second as they collected three hits during the frame. Their starter Zach Wager turned in three shutout innings while striking out four. It would remain 2-0 in UT Martin’s favor until the top of the fifth where Southern managed to tie the game thanks to gifts from the Skyhawks defense. After a dropped flyball error and a passed ball with runners on, the Salukis knotted the score at two.

Moving to the late innings, SIU broke the 2-2 tie in the top half of the eighth. Ryan Rodriguez walked and Kaeber Rog singled to set up runners at the corners with only one down. Noah Cook walked to load the bases and Steven Loden capitalized by doubling down the right-field line to plate two for the Dawgs. A sac fly scored another run and extended the Saluki lead to 5-2.

They would add an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch and hold on by that score of 6-2 to secure a big win on the road.

SIU will look to carry their momentum on the road as they travel to Evansville, Indiana for a Wednesday afternoon matchup against the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles (7-9). First pitch will commence at 3 pm at USI Baseball Field.

Sports reporter Howard Woodard can be reached at [email protected].

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