SIU wins first-ever road series at Valparaiso


The SIU baseball team earned a hard-fought series win against Valpo this past weekend in Valparaiso, Indiana. This marks the first time ever the Salukis have won a series in Valparaiso.

While SIU lost Friday’s game 9-8, they managed to earn wins on both Saturday [7-3] and Sunday [10-6] to bring their record up to 27-21 overall and 13-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference with six games left in conference play.

Kaeber Rog led the way offensively for the Dawgs during Friday’s game, going 3-for-5 with two home runs. Rog also scored three runs himself and recorded two RBIs. Pier Boucher-Olivier went 2-for-5 with a home run, crossing the plate twice and sending one home as well. The team finished the game with 12 hits and eight RBIs.


The scoring started early for SIU, with Ryan Rodriguez’s fly out in the first inning scoring Rog. Later in the inning, Bennett Eltoft homered to right field, bringing home Boucher.

Rog’s solo home run to left center in the second was the only scoring SIU did in the inning and would be their only offense until the seventh, when Boucher hit his own solo homer to left center.

Rog homered again in the top of the eighth to narrow Valparaiso’s lead to 8-6. Valpo scored in the bottom of the eighth to bring their lead to 9-6, leaving SIU down three runs to start the top of the ninth.

The near-comeback started with Ryan Rodriguez’s double that threaded the right field line, followed by Eltoft’s hit-by-pitch to put two men on base. Cole Chirstman smacked a double to left center and brought Rodriguez home while sending Eltoft to third. Steven Loden’s sac fly scored Eltoft and advanced Christman to third, leaving the Salukis only down one run. The game ended after a strikeout and a fly-out, leaving the Dawgs crushingly close to pulling off a big comeback.

SIU’s Jordan Bloemer earned his first loss of the year, getting shelled for seven hits and seven earned runs in six innings. All but one of the runs came in the second. Paul Bonzagni and Ben Riffe each pitched one inning and gave up two hits and a run.

The Salukis fared much better in Saturday’s game. Tanner Lewis earned the win after going five innings and giving up seven hits and three runs. Matthew Steidl tossed 3.1 scoreless innings, and Scott Harper earned the final two outs and the save.

SIU took the early lead off of Loden’s solo home run in the top of the second, but Valpo scored three runs in the third to retake the lead.


In the fourth, Eltoft reached on a single, and Nathan Bandy’s left-center double sent him home. The scoring would continue in the fifth; Rog walked, and Boucher hit home run number 14 on the year to make the score 4-3.

Rodriguez hit a double in the seventh and reached home off Eltoft’s center-field single. Christman opened the eighth with an infield single, and Loden walked to put runners on first and second. Christman advanced to third on a double play, and scored along with Mathieu Vallee off of Matt Schark’s double to reach the final score of 7-3.

In Sunday’s series finale, the Dawgs picked up right where they left off.

In the top of the second, Christman reached on a throwing error, and Bandy hit a single. Vallee hit SIU’s ninth triple of the year, and scored Christman and Bandy.

The Salukis exploded for four runs in the top of the sixth. Vallee’s single batted in Christman, while another triple, this one by Schark, sent Vallee and Bandy across the plate. Rog’s double down the first base line scored Schark and left the score at 6-1 after six innings.

SIU added another run in the top of the seventh, with Loden scoring off Vallee’s double.

The eighth was another productive inning. Rodriguez’s sacrifice bunt sent Boucher to second and Rog to third. Eltoft reached on a fielder’s choice, and Rog was caught sliding at home. After Eltoft stole second, Loden swatted a single to right field, allowing Eltoft and Boucher both to score. Loden swiped second, and Christman brought him home on a left field single. Valpo managed only one run in the ninth, and the final score was 10-6.

Jake Combs pitched seven solid innings for the Dawgs, giving up eight hits but only 2 runs. Shane Wilhelm entered, gave up a quick three runs, and was replaced by Harper. After Harper finished the eighth, Paul Bonzagni was given the ball for the ninth. He finished the game and gave up only one run and a hit.

The Salukis will return home to Itchy Jones Stadium and play their final four home games of the season this week, starting with SIUE on Tuesday and then Missouri State over the weekend. The first pitch will be thrown at 6 PM.

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Sports Reporter Ryan Grieser can be reached at [email protected]