Daily Egyptian

Mistakes cost Salukis in series finale

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

Indiana State rode its second strong pitching performance in as many days to a series win at SIU in a 5-1 win Sunday.

Freshman Tyler Ward (4-3, 2.92 ERA) pitched seven shutout innings for the Sycamores (21-12, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference), allowing four hits, striking out one man and walking one.

“[Ward] was really predictable,” sophomore left fielder Greg Lambert said. “He was throwing the same to the same hitters. He didn’t switch up his sequences a lot. I guess some of our guys just didn’t pick it up.”

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SIU (19-13-1, 1-2 MVC) picked up a run in the ninth inning to avoid being shut out for the second straight game, but it was too little, too late.

All five Sycamore runs were the result of Saluki miscues. An unearned run on a throwing error by SIU freshman third baseman Jared Schmidt opened the scoring in the first inning. 

The Salukis failed to capitalize with sophomore second baseman Connor Kopach at third and one out in the bottom of the first, as a popout and a groundout left him stranded as the potential tying run.

“It’s not a lack of physical ability,” said coach Ken Henderson of his team’s anemic offensive output in the final two games of the series. “It’s frustrated because it’s not where we’ve got to work on their swings or change swings. That’s not the case at all. We’ve got guys who are physically capable of hitting who are trying to do too much.”

Indiana State scored two more in the fourth inning after sophomore first baseman Dane Gielser doubled home two runners who had walked.

Geisler scored the Sycamores’ fourth run on a wild pitch by Saluki freshman reliever in the seventh inning. Indiana State added its final insurance run when junior right fielder Hunter Owen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth.

Sophomore right-hander Michael Baird (5-2, 2.04 ERA) took the loss for Southern, allowing three runs, two of them earned, on two hits in five innings. He struck out one batter and walked three.

“The second time I faced the lineup they started battling me,” he said. “Without my slider today, it was tougher to get them out.”

Giesler’s two hits and two RBIs were both game highs.

The Salukis will host Eastern Illinois at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Itchy Jones Stadium. Senior Bryce Sablotny (2-3, 6.19 ERA) will pitch for SIU.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.

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