Saluki comeback falls short against UT-Martin

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The SIU baseball team’s modest two-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday night in an 11-9 loss to UT-Martin.

The Salukis (9-32, 5-7) fell behind the Skyhawks (11-26, 5-13 Ohio Valley Conference) early and could not quite catch up.

Sophomore starter Austin McPheron’s control issues resurfaced Wednesday. McPheron (0-4) walked four Skyhawk batters and hit another, allowing 6 runs in 2 innings of work.


UTM senior starter Alex Martin (2-5) picked up the win, allowing 7 runs in 5 1/3 innings.

UTM scored in five of the first seven innings, including a 5-run second despite collecting only 1 hit. After a bases loaded error by sophomore third baseman Ryan Sabo, Skyhawk senior first baseman Nico Zych hit a grand slam to left field .

SIU freshman first baseman Greg Lambert said the Salukis kept battling even after falling behind 9-2 after 3 innings.

“We never lost confidence,” Lambert said. “When we came in to hit in the fourth inning coach [Ken Henderson] said, ‘Do you want to win, or do you want to lose?’ We wanted to win, and we kept chipping away.”

The Salukis scored in six innings, but never scored more than 2 runs per inning.

Their best chance came in the eighth with the bases loaded, nobody out and a run already in the frame. Freshman catcher Nick Hutchins, freshman designated hitter Logan Blackfan and sophomore pinch hitter Jake Hand struck consecutively against Skyhawk junior closer Patrick Bernard to end the threat.

Freshman pinch hitter Hunter Anderson led off the ninth with a double and came around to score on two groundouts. Lambert lined to right for the final out.


Henderson was satisfied with his team’s effort.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the way we competed tonight,” Henderson said. “I think everybody in that dugout thought we were going to win that game right up until the final out.”

Zych led all players with 5 RBIs, all of them coming in the game’s first two innings. Skyhawk senior right fielder Taylor Douglas and Lambert each had a game-high 4 hits.

The Salukis start a three-game series at home against Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m Friday at Itchy Jones Stadium.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.