Salukis escape tight ball game with a W

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

Saluki baseball recorded three defensive ground ball double plays in a win Sunday, including one in the ninth to prevent the tying run from scoring and secure the victory.

Sophomore closer Ryan Netemeyer induced the game-ending double play, stranding the tying run on third to give SIU a 3-2 win against Jacksonville State. The Salukis won two games in the three-game series.

The Salukis were outhit 12-5 on Sunday, but coach Ken Henderson was happy with what worked best for his team, pitching and defense.

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“If I had to take two out of three, I’d take pitching and defense because they have been big for us all year,” he said. “The wind was a factor today not blowing out as much so hits were hard to come by. But we took good at bats and played well throughout.”

Sophomore pitcher Michael Baird (5-1 1.88 ERA) earned the win, going 7 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on 10 hits in the victory. Freshman pitcher Garrett Farmer (2-1 3.68 ERA) suffered the loss.

SIU got all the offense it needed on junior outfielder Jake Hand’s two-run triple off the left-field wall in the third. Sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan followed with an RBI single.

“I was looking for a good pitch to drive and I got a changeup on the outer half and took it,” Hand said. “Normally I’m trying to drive something through the right side but with the guy on second I’m just looking for the first good thing.”

The Gamecocks tagged Baird for two runs in the sixth and had a chance to tie before a double play got the Dawgs out of the inning.

“Our defense was outstanding again today,” Baird said. “I don’t mind pitching to contact because I know I have a great infield behind me to back me up.”

Netemeyer entered with one out in the eighth and pitched the rest of the way, earning the save — his sixth of the season. 

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“We were just trying to get the series victory and send them back home to sweet home Alabama,” Hand said. “We played a good team this weekend and we needed a win like today and we got it.”

The Salukis play Belmont at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Itchy Jones Stadium. They begin conference play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Itchy Jones Stadium with a three-game series against Indiana State.

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

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