Shockers use experience, big innings to sweep Salukis

By Thomas Donley, @TdonleyDE

The SIU baseball team’s youth and inexperience was on display this weekend as the Salukis opened Missouri Valley Conference play by suffering a sweep at the hands of Wichita State. 

SIU (3-19, 0-3) has lost eight straight games to the Shockers (11-12, 3-0), dating back to April 26, 2013.

Wichita, which came into the series second to last in the conference in slugging percentage, put up 36 runs in three games. 

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Saluki junior Aaron Hauge and Wichita State junior Willie Schwanke squared off in Friday’s battle of aces. Late-inning heroics gave the Shockers the 3-2 win. 

Hauge recorded a career-high 9 strikeouts, but control issues led to a season-high 5 walks and an elevated pitch count. 

The Shockers opened the scoring without a hit in the first inning, using 2 walks, a Hauge error and a rundown on a pickoff play to push across the game’s first run. 

The Salukis answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning without hitting the ball out of the infield. Sophomore left fielder Jake Hand drove in a run with an infield single, and another run scored on the play when Shocker junior shortstop Tanner Kirk’s throw got away from junior first baseman Ryan Tinkham. 

A throwing error by junior catcher Taylor Martin led to a second Shocker run in the fourth.

Sophomore reliever Chad Whitmer provided 2.1 innings of scoreless relief behind Hauge before giving way to sophomore Anthony Shimkus. 

With one out and a runner at third in the top of the ninth, senior pinch hitter Bob Arens lined Shimkus’s first pitch over freshman third baseman Greg Lambert’s outstretched glove and down the left field line for a double, driving in the game-winning run

Freshman pitcher Taylor Goshen (3-2) picked up the win in Friday’s game. Shimkus (0-2) took the loss. 

Senior Bryce Sablotny took the mound for SIU against Wichita junior Sam Hilliard on Saturday. An eight-run fourth inning for Wichita State led to a seven-inning 20-6 blowout. 

Sablotny allowed 6 runs in three-plus innings, but Hilliard allowed 6 of his own in 2.1 innings. 

Freshman Michael Baird relieved Sablotny in the fourth and allowed a grand slam to junior center fielder Daniel Kihle. Baird left the game without recording an out after giving up 4 runs.

Sophomore Connor McFadden allowed 2 runs, one of them earned, while only retiring one batter in relief of Baird.  Sophomore Austin McPheron finally recorded the final out of the fourth.

Junior John Hayes (1-0) picked up the win for Wichita State on Saturday. Baird (0-3) took the loss.

Wichita finished the game with 20 runs on 18 hits.

The fifth inning was the stumbling block for Saluki pitching in a 13-3 loss Sunday.

Sophomore starter Kyle Pruemer allowed three of his seven runs in the fifth. Freshman reliever Ryan Netemeyer allowed five more before retiring the final two batters of the inning.

A run in the eighth inning was enough to give Wichita the 10-run rule win.

Freshman Jeb Bargfeldt (2-0) picked up the win for the Shockers, allowing 1 run through five innings. Pruemer (0-3) took the loss for SIU. Sophomore Chase Williams, who pitched the final three innings, earned his first save.

Kihle finished the series 6-for-11 with a home run and 5 RBIs. Hilliard went 5-for-10 with 5 RBIs.

Saluki coach Ken Henderson said he was encouraged despite his team’s second straight run-rule loss.

“You guys will probably think I’m crazy,” Henderson said. “But I’m proud of our effort today. I thought we got beat because the other team was better.”

Henderson said the Salukis’ surplus of freshmen and sophomores gives them a disadvantage. 

“It’s like a junior college against a four-year school,” Henderson said. “I’ll be disappointed if people look at us and don’t think we could be something special down the road.”

SIU plays Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Charleston. Junior Alex Lesiak is the probable pitcher.

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

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