Wild first inning does in Salukis at McNeese State

Wild first inning does in Salukis at McNeese State

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

Southern Illinois junior left-hander Joey Marciano’s NCAA debut started turbulently, and the Salukis could not dig out of an early hole in their season opener Friday night.

McNeese State (1-0) used four hits, two walks and two errors to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. the Salukis (0-1) stranded eight runners on base in a 5-2 loss.

Marciano (0-1), a transfer from John A. Logan College, needed 46 pitches to get through the first inning and made the first error of the game.

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He settled in after that rocky first, retiring the side in order in each of the next two innings. His night ended with three runs allowed on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 3 2/3 innings pitched.

SIU collected three hits in the first four innings without scoring a run.

The Salukis cut into the McNeese lead when sophomore leftfielder Greg Lambert drove in two runs with a two-out single to center field in the fifth off freshman right-hander Zach Rider. Both runs were charged to Cowboy senior starter Kaleb Fontenot.

Fontenot (1-0) allowed those two runs on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings to earn the win.

The McNeese bullpen held the Saluki offense scoreless on three hits and one walk the rest of the game, while SIU relievers allowed two runs on three hits while walking five batters in 4 1/3 innings.

Junior reliever Collin Kober picked up his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning on 11 pitches.

McNeese junior designated hitter Ricky Ramirez was the only player with two hits. Senior right fielder Lewis Guilbeau and junior third baseman Matt Gallier tied Lambert with a game-high two runs batted in.

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Cowboy freshman left fielder Shane Selman and Saluki sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan each went 1-4 with a double, providing the game’s only extra-base hits.

The two teams are back in action at 3 p.m. Saturday as SIU junior right-hander Chad Whitmer (0-0) will take the mound against McNeese freshman lefty Bryan King (0-0).

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

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