SIU defeats DBU in conference series opener Friday

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

The SIU baseball team battled through persistent rain and lightning to defeat conference opponent Dallas Baptist University 4-1 Friday afternoon at Itchy Jones Stadium, moving its winning streak to a season-high five games.

Friday’s game was moved up to 1 p.m. to miss incoming storms later in the night.

The time change did not affect senior starting pitcher Chad Whitmer, who took the mound for the Salukis Friday.


Whitmer, coming off back-to-back quality starts leading to wins, was spectacular again, covering 8.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while walking two and striking out eight batters.

Southern gave Whitmer run support in the bottom of the fourth inning, following a 51 minute delay due to lightning being sighted.

Senior pitcher Chad Whitmer throws from the mound Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist
at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

Senior left fielder Ryan Smith led off the inning with a double, and scored on junior first baseman Greg Lambert’s single to left field to put SIU on the board.

Lambert circled the bases and scored on junior designated hitter Logan Blackfan’s double to center field.

Blackfan scored the third and final run of the inning on senior shortstop Will Farmer’s single into center field to give the Salukis a 3-0 lead after four.

The Salukis added another run in the bottom of the seventh, when senior center fielder Dyllin Mucha tripled to right-center field and scored on junior second baseman Connor Kopach’s sacrifice fly to center field to make it a 4-0 game.

Junior infielder Connor Kopach catches a fly ball Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

Dallas Baptist scored their first run of the game in the top of the eighth when freshman second baseman Luke Bandy launched his second career home run over the left field wall to make it 4-1 in favor of Southern.


That was the only run DBU scored in the game, as junior closer Ryan Netemeyer worked around a lead-off walk and one-out single to finish off a scoreless top of the ninth and complete his 14th save of the season in the 4-1 Saluki win.

With his 14th save, Netemeyer set a new single-season save record for Southern, besting the previous record of 13 saves set by Al Levine during the 1990 season.

The win Friday is the third consecutive for Whitmer, moving his record on the season to 4-3 through 11 starts.

Farmer recorded a multi-hit game against Dallas Baptist, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.

Southern is now tied for second place with Dallas Baptist in the Missouri Valley Conference ranks with both teams sharing a 6-4 conference record.

Freshman outfielder Addison Fugitt throws to junior infielder Connor Kopach at second base Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

SIU (23-20) will try to complete the three-game series ahead of inclement weather Saturday with a doubleheader against Dallas Baptist. First game is scheduled for a 12:40 p.m. start, with the second game to be played immediately following completion of the first game. Junior starting pitcher Michael Baird will toe the rubber for the Salukis in game one, and senior starting pitcher Joey Marciano with take the mound for game two. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN3 and broadcast on 1300-AM/95.5-FM.

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

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