Whitmer, bats dominate Western to earn series win

Whitmer, bats dominate Western to earn series win

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

SIU baseball jumped on Western Illinois early Saturday, and junior right-hander Chad Whitmer held down the Leathernecks as the Salukis earned the series win.

Southern Illinois (3-3) pounded out 14 hits in a 9-0 home-field shellacking of WIU (0-5).

Whitmer (2-0) scattered four hits across eight innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts and no walks. He lowered his ERA to 0.64.

Advertisement

“[Whitmer] just filled it up, man,” coach Ken Henderson said. “He throws strikes. He changes speeds. He has command of every pitch. That was about as dominant a performance as we’ve seen on the bump in a few years.”

The last SIU pitcher to throw eight shutout innings was Aaron Hauge, who held Illinois scoreless on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in a win at Champaign on March 15, 2015.

“I was just trying to keep them off balance the whole game, ” Whitmer said. “Taylor Martin did a great job behind the plate calling pitches. We were on the same track the whole time.”

Sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan’s two-run homer capped a three-run first inning rally for SIU against Leatherneck senior righty Joe Mortillaro (0-2).

“He threw me a fastball on 3-1,” Blackfan said. “I got the green light on 3-0, but I wanted to see another pitch. He threw me one out over the plate, and I put a good swing on it.”

Blackfan’s two runs batted in tied with sophomore second baseman Connor Kopach and junior right fielder Jake Hand for the game high.

Junior center fielder Dyllin Mucha collected a game-high four hits. Kopach, Mucha, Hand and junior third baseman Ryan Sabo scored two runs apiece. 

Advertisement

A win Sunday would give the Salukis their first series sweep since May 9 to May 11, 2014 against Mississippi Valley State. 

The two teams will face off at 1 p.m. Sunday in the final game of the series. Sophomore right-handed Michael Baird (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will take the mound for SIU. Western will send sophomore lefty J. T. Baksha (0-0, 7.36) to the hill.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] 

Advertisement