Saluki baseball swept by No. 14 Indiana State


Lance Rhodes (Head Coach) at the mound with players against the Belmont Bruins April 6th, 2023 at the Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

Southern Illinois dropped three straight to the 14th-ranked team in Division I baseball this weekend, ending up on the receiving end of a sweep by the Valley-leading Indiana State Sycamores (26-12, 14-1). The Salukis fell to 23-17, 10-5 in conference play.

The Sycamores extended their winning streak to 14 games, maintaining a tie for the second-longest active streak in Division I college baseball with Dallas Baptist. Both sit just one game behind Army, which currently holds a 15-game winning streak.

Saturday marked the opener of the three-game set, and also the closest result of the series. The Salukis took the lead in the seventh inning on a three-run home run by Mathieu Vallee, but Indiana State managed to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.


Saluki reliever Paul Bonzagni picked off the potential go-ahead run at third base to hold the tie in the seventh, and both teams remained tied heading into extras.

In the bottom of the tenth, Bonzagni allowed a leadoff double, and as the Sycamores attempted a bunt to advance the runner, Bonzagni’s throw to third went high to allow a 6-5 walk-off win for Indiana State.

Sunday’s matchup didn’t bode much better for SIU. Following a leadoff single by Nathan Bandy on the second pitch of the game, Indiana State starter Connor Fenlong didn’t allow a hit for the rest of the game. In seven innings, the Saluki offense only managed Bandy’s base hit, and a Cole Christman walk in the third en route to a 10-0 loss.

The near-no hitter marked the fewest hits the Saluki offense has gotten in a game since April 2017, when Southern was one-hit by Austin Peay in nine innings.

Monday’s finale saw Indiana State knock a go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning, and add three more in the sixth on its way to a 7-2 victory, clinching the series sweep.

The sweep guarantees that Southern will fall below the 40-win mark in the regular season, although they could achieve that feat in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Head coach Lance Rhodes has yet to record a win total under 40 in a full season.

Despite losing three straight to the Sycamores, Southern still holds third place in the Valley by two games. The rest of their schedule is favorable, as three of their final four conference opponents are below or within half a game of .500.


The Salukis will take on Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, looking to complete the season sweep after defeating the Redhawks 8-5 two weeks ago. They will then return to Carbondale to host Illinois State (13-22, 4-11) for a weekend series beginning April 28.

Staff reporter Brandyn Wilcoxen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrandynWilcoxen.

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