Blackfan’s 3-run blast lifts SIU

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By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

A home run in the first inning by sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan helped SIU baseball to a 5-2 win over Northern Illinois University on Sunday.

Blackfan drove in three runs on a full-count pitch that cleared the wall in right center.

“We hadn’t been hitting well with runners in scoring position so I was looking for a fastball to drive,” Blackfan said. “I worked the count full and he threw a good pitch low and away and I put a good swing on it.”

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Senior pitcher Bryce Sablotny (2-1, 4.67 ERA) got the win on the hill after giving up two runs in seven innings on five hits with one strikeout. He came into the game with a 6.30 ERA, but did not allow an earned run against the Huskies.

Sablotny faced a scary moment in the fifth inning with two outs when he took a line drive off his knee that knocked him off his feet. He was able to record the final out and pitched two more innings.

“I wasn’t able to get up right away and get the ball so I had to lay on the ground for a few minutes to get my strength back,” he said. “There was no question I was coming out of the game and I wanted to finish what I started.”

Sophomore pitcher Ryan Netemeyer (4 SV, 0.68 ERA) got the save.

NIU senior pitcher Joey Ceja (0-2 15.19 ERA) took the loss giving up five runs on five hits in three innings of work in his second start of the season.

The Huskies took an early lead on a throwing error from sophomore Ryan Sabo that plated two runs. The Salukis retook the lead on Blackfan’s home run and tacked on two more with senior catcher Taylor Martin’s bloop single into left.

Despite the loss, NIU coach Mike Kunigonis remained optimistic that his team was able to take a game from both SIU and Illinois on the road.

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“We’re playing better than we have been,” he said. “We’ve gotten a couple good starts from our staff and this weekend had a pre conference play feel to it and we played better overall.”

A total of seven players were hit by a pitch in the game as six SIU batters were plunked and only one Husky was hit. 

SIU’s first time through the batting order had three Salukis reach base because of a hit by pitch. 

No warnings were issued on either side.

SIU will play Illinois at 4:20 p.m. Sunday at Itchy Jones Stadium.

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

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