Daily Egyptian

Netemeyer settling in to closer role

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

Southern Illinois baseball’s new closer won’t take no prisoners and won’t spare no lives.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Ryan Netemeyer is entering the season as SIU’s closer for the first time in his career, a role he started to move into late last season.

Netemeyer, who is listed as 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, said he does not give any mind to his less-than-imposing stature as a closer.

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“There’s a lot of small guys who throw hard,” he said. “And you don’t even have to throw hard. Just execute pitches and get the job done.”

Netemeyer said his fastball averages around 88 miles per hour and topped out at 92 in the fall.

“He’s a tough kid,” pitching coach P.J. Finigan said. “He understands the game at a higher level than most guys. I think the other thing is that he’s really even-keeled. He doesn’t get too excited. He keeps his emotions in check.”

Not only does Netemeyer have the stuff and mental makeup of a closer, he will come out of the bullpen to a song used by one of the greatest closers of all time. ACDC’s “Hell’s Bells,” the same song used by Trevor Hoffman, who closed out 601 wins in his MLB career, will ring through Itchy Jones Stadium whenever Netemeyer takes the mound this season.

Netemeyer earned his first save of the season, a four-out effort, in a 2-1 win at McNeese State on Saturday. He allowed no runs on one hit to earn his second career save in as many chances, securing his first April 11 of last season at Indiana State. 

“It was exciting,” he said. “It felt really good to put in all that work and then just go out there and close the door, shut it down.”

Senior right-hander Colten Selvey started 2015 as the Salukis’ closer. Selvey converted four of five save opportunities last season, posting a team-best 2.94 ERA in 17 appearances. SIU was 10-1 when leading after eight innings last season.

“[Netemeyer] comes in and just goes straight at guys, which is what you want in the back end of the bullpen,” Selvey said. “Personally, we have a really good relationship.”

Selvey pitched one inning or less in each of his first 14 appearances last season before combining for 6 1/3 innings in his final two games of the regular season. 

“[Selvey] has good enough stuff,” coach Ken Henderson said. “His thing is command. He just lost some command last season, and you can’t have walks in [a save] situation. And it seemed like last year when we put him in he middle role, he was much better.”

Finigan said Selvey will see more chances to pitch multiple innings this season.

“We thought [Netemeyer and Selvey] fit in their roles better than the ones they started [2015] in,” Finigan said. “I think they’ve both flourished in the roles they have now.

Selvey allowed two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings Sunday at McNeese State. 

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

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