Marciano freezes Leathernecks in gem

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Marciano freezes Leathernecks in gem

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

Junior left-hander Joey Marciano took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Friday as Southern Illinois beat Western Illinois 4-1 in the Salukis’ home opener.

Marciano (1-1) pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, striking out four batters and walking four as SIU (2-3) kept the Leathernecks (0-4) winless.

“My main thought was to go out there and just throw strikes,” Marciano said. “That worked, and I just had success from there on.”

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He kept hitters off balance with a fastball consistently at 86 miles per hour and a curveball as slow as 67. A one-out single in the seventh by sophomore designated hitter Colton Pogue broke up his no-hit bid.

“[Marciano] was himself today,” coach Ken Henderson said. “He looked composed. He was in control, and he looked like the guy that you want to stick out there on a Friday night.”

Marciano lowered his earned run average from 7.36 to 2.61. He has held opponents scoreless since allowing three runs in his first inning of the season.

First-inning Leatherneck miscues gave the Salukis a lead they would never relinquish.

Sophomore second baseman Connor Kopach led off the bottom of the first with a triple off WIU junior left-handler Preston Church (0-1). Kopach was almost stranded at third, but scored on an error after sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan struck out on a wild pitch with two out. 

Blackfan advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a base hit by sophomore left fielder Greg Lambert.

The Salukis added two more runs in the fourth on an RBI double by sophomore designated hitter Hunter Anderson and an RBI single by sophomore catcher Nick Hutchins.

Western scored its lone run on an RBI triple by junior shortstop Chris Tschida off Saluki junior righty Anthony Shimkus.

The Leathernecks finished the game with two hits.

The two teams will be back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday. Junior right-handed Chad Whitmer (1-0) will take the mound for SIU. Senior righty Joe Mortillaro (0-1) will pitch for Western.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-538-3307.

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