Daily Egyptian

Salukis complete three-game series sweep of Tennessee Tech with win Sunday

Saluki+junior+infielder+Greg+Lambert+darts+toward+third+base+before+running+home+during+SIU%E2%80%99s+13-8+win+against+Tennessee+Tech+on+Sunday%2C+April+23%2C+2017%2C+at+Itchy+Jones+Stadium.+%28William+Cooley+%7C+%40Wcooley%29%0A
Saluki junior infielder Greg Lambert darts toward third base before running home during SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

Saluki junior infielder Greg Lambert darts toward third base before running home during SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

Saluki junior infielder Greg Lambert darts toward third base before running home during SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

SIU baseball kept the bats alive Sunday at Itchy Jones Stadium, recording 13 hits to power past Tennessee Tech 13-8 and complete the weekend series sweep while moving to 21-20 on the season.

Senior starting pitcher Joey Marciano toed the rubber for the Salukis in the series finale Sunday, looking for his first win since he led Southern over the University of Illinois on March 19.

Marciano pitched brilliantly through five innings, exiting the game in the top of the sixth after issuing a lead-off walk and back-to-back singles. He finished with 5.0 innings, accounting for four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six.

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“By far this was his best start,” Coach Ken Henderson said. “He was much more efficient. I thought his focus was outstanding and he pounded the zone.”

The Salukis jumped on the board early with two runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead.

Southern added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth, as junior second baseman Connor Kopach scored on senior center fielder Ryan Smith’s RBI single.

Senior pitcher Joey Marciano throws as Tennessee Tech players load the bases during SIU’s 13-8 win against the Golden Eagles on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

Smith advanced to second base on an errant pick-off throw and scored on junior first baseman Greg Lambert’s RBI double to give Southern a 7-1 lead after four innings.

Tennessee Tech battled back in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs against Marciano and junior relief pitcher Allen Montgomery before senior relief pitcher Jacob Williams entered the game to close out the inning with Southern holding a narrow 7-6 lead.

Freshman Addison Fugitt scored on Lambert’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to add cushion to Southern’s lead 8-6.

Junior pitcher Ryan Netemeyer throws from the mound during SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

The Golden Eagles answered back in the top of the seventh with a run of their own to bring the game back to a one-run affair 8-7.

But Southern jumped in front with a big bottom half of the inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs on one error, one walk, one sac fly, two hits and two hit batsmen to make it a 13-7 game.

“We did a great job with two strikes and two outs all weekend,” Henderson said. “By far our best weekend offensively and I’m proud of our guys for staying at it.”

Tennessee Tech worked across a run in the top of the eighth against freshman relief pitcher Alex Gutermuth to make it a 13-8 Southern lead.

Senior infielder Ryan Sabo readies at bat during SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, in the final game of a weekend series in which the Salukis swept Tennessee Tech at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

SIU took the five-run lead into the top of the ninth, sending junior pitcher Ryan Netemeyer to the mound to close out the game for the Salukis.

Netemeyer needed only nine pitches to close out the game, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout to secure a 13-8 win for the Salukis and the three-game sweep of Tennessee Tech.

“I said it on Tuesday night, I think our biggest problem was confidence,” Henderson said. “We obviously gained some confidence from this.”

With the win, Marciano moves to 3-2 in nine starts for the season.

Three Saluki hitters recorded multiple hits in Sunday’s game.

Senior infielder Will Farmer gathers with teammates following SIU’s 13-8 win against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley)

Smith went 2-for-3, with one walk and one sacrifice fly while scoring two runs and collecting two RBI’s. For the series, he batted .571 (8-for-14) with one double, one sac fly, two walks and two stolen bases while scoring six runs and collecting 2 RBI’s.

Lambert went 4-for-4, with one sac fly and two doubles, scoring one run and collecting seven RBI’s. For the series, he batted .692 (9-for-13) with one sac fly, one triple and three doubles to go along with three runs scored and ten RBI’s.

Kopach went 3-for-4, scoring three runs and collecting two RBI’s to go along with four stolen bases. He now has 26 stolen bases on the season.

“This feels amazing,” Kopach said. “Offensively we have been struggling a little bit this year, [but] this whole weekend we put the ball in play … and found ways to get on base and score runs. Now we have to build off of this … because the next [conference] teams we face are [Dallas Baptist University] and Missouri State and they are two offensively great teams.”

Southern’s next game will be a non-conference match-up on the road Tuesday at Southeast Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., and will be broadcast live on 105.1-FM.

Sports writer Denton “Gio” Giovenco can be reached at dgiovenco@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @DentonGiovenco.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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