Salukis walkoff UT Martin in extras and win fifth in a row


Corrin Hunt | @CorrinIHunt

Southern Illinois outfielder Kenton Crawford (23) hits the ball, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, during the Southern Illinois Salukis 2-0 victory against the Southeast Missouri Redhawks at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Corrin Hunt | @CorrinIHunt)

SIU baseball (13-12) won an extra-inning thriller in walk-off fashion at Itchy Jones Stadium Tuesday night as they won 6-5 over the UT Martin Skyhawks (7-19). 

It was a back-and-forth affair where the Dawgs eventually came back to tie it in the bottom of the ninth, and then win it in the following inning. The team has now won five in a row and is over .500 for the first time since after their third game of the season.

Southpaw Jordan Bloemer got the ball to start for the Salukis and was solid on the mound. Through 4.1 innings of work, Bloemer allowed five hits while also striking out five Skyhawk batters and not walking anyone. He did allow four runs but only two were earned, as Southern’s defense committed three errors on the night.


Easton Dermody followed Bloemer and pitched 1.2 innings of one-run ball while allowing a hit, and a run, striking out two, and walking two. Scott Harper and Paul Bonzagni finished the last four innings for the Dawgs, both pitching two scoreless innings as they squandered the two hits they each allowed. Harper struck out two Skyhawks and Bonzagni sat down four batters on strikes.

Nathan Bandy had a huge day from the leadoff spot for SIU, as the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a double, a walk, and scored two runs. Pier-Olivier Boucher had a nice game behind Bandy in the two-hole, going 2-for-5 with a homer and a walk. First baseman Matt Schark also produced at the dish with a 2-for-3 night with two RBI and scored a run.

A two-out triple and single plated the first run of the game in the top of the 1st for UT Martin. Bandy led off the game for SIU with a double but was stranded in the Saluki’s half of the first inning. The Dawgs managed to tie the game at one after two wild pitches chased home a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 2nd. Boucher’s solo blast in the 3rd put Southern on top briefly before the Skyhawks tied the game at two on an RBI double in the next half inning. 

Two of the three Saluki errors in UT Martin’s half of the 5th were a catalyst to the Skyhawks pushing ahead 4-2. SIU answered in the bottom half as Cole Christman hit a sac fly that brought in Bandy to score from third. The visitors got the run back after an RBI single the next inning before Steven Loden parked a solo shot over the wall to make it 5-4 in the bottom of the 6th.

The score remained that way until the final half of the ninth inning where Bandy once again sparked a rally for Southern with a leadoff single. Boucher walked after him and Cole Christman was the hero as he delivered a double to right center that plated Bandy and knotted the game at five. SIU was set to walk off the game there in regulation with runners at second and third with only one down, but they couldn’t get another big hit.

After Bonzagni shut down the Skyhawks in the top half of the 10th, Schark walked to begin the Salukis’ tenth. He advanced to second on a bunt and UT Martin opted to intentionally walk Bandy both to avoid his hot bat and set up a potential double play. They got what they wanted on a batted ball from Boucher, but the Skyhawks’ second baseman threw the ball away which allowed Schark to come around and score the winning run.

Southern Illinois baseball will look to continue their winning streak in Peoria this weekend as they’ll take on the Bradley Braves (9-11) on the road at Dozer Park. It will be the Saluki’s second straight weekend in MVC play as they will look to replicate their sweep of the UIC Flames. The first matchup will be on Friday night at 6 pm.


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

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