Daily Egyptian

SIU drops rain-shortened doubleheader to DBU to lose series 2-1

Junior+infielder+Greg+Lambert+runs+toward+second+base+Friday%2C+April+28%2C+2017%2C+during+a+4-1+win+against+Dallas+Baptist+at+Itchy+Jones+Stadium.+%28William+Cooley+%7C+%40Wcooley1980%29
Junior infielder Greg Lambert runs toward second base Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

Junior infielder Greg Lambert runs toward second base Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

Junior infielder Greg Lambert runs toward second base Friday, April 28, 2017, during a 4-1 win against Dallas Baptist at Itchy Jones Stadium. (William Cooley | @Wcooley1980)

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

The SIU baseball team took a 1-0 series lead with a win Friday, but failed to capitalize on Saturday, dropping both games of a rain-shortened doubleheader to Dallas Baptist to lose the conference series match 2-1.

With weather conditions bringing heavy rains and flooding to the entire Carbondale area, SIU attempted to complete its three-game series against the Dallas Baptist Patriots Saturday with an early doubleheader.

The first game of the doubleheader began at 12:40 p.m., with junior starting pitcher Michael Baird taking the mound for the Salukis.

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Baird has struggled over his last three starts, with 12.1 combined innings resulting in a 15.62 ERA and 2.81 WHIP. He completed at least 6.1 innings in each of his first seven starts to begin the season, but has failed to pitch past 4.2 innings in his last three starts — with his last quality start coming against Evansville on April 1.

Baird turned in a solid outing against the Patriots Saturday, completing 6.0 innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits while walking two and striking out six batters to record his seventh quality start of the season.

The Salukis could not capitalize on Baird’s start, mustering only three hits and no runs through seven innings against Patriots starting pitcher Jordan Martinson.

Dallas Baptist added one run in the top of the seventh off senior pitcher Jacob Williams and two more (one earned) in the top of the eighth off sophomore pitcher Mitch Townsend to take a 4-0 lead over SIU.

Southern began the bottom of the eighth with a lead-off walk by junior first baseman Logan Blackfan and a single by junior catcher Nick Hutchins to force Martinson from the game.

Both Blackfan and Hutchins scored on senior center fielder Dyllin Mucha’s single to cut Dallas Baptist’s lead in half 4-2.

Freshman pitcher Brad Harrison held the Patriots scoreless in the top of the ninth to keep the game in reach, but the Salukis failed to capitalize in the bottom of the inning.

Junior left fielder Greg Lambert reached base with a one-out single to bring the tying run to the plate represented by senior designated hitter Jake Hand. But Hand grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game, giving Dallas Baptist its first win of the series 4-2.

With the series tied 1-1, the deciding game was started as soon as pitchers were warmed up in hopes to complete the series before thunderstorms entered the area.

Senior starting pitcher Joey Marciano toed the rubber for the Salukis in game two of the doubleheader, looking for his second win in a row in what has been a positive turn-around on the mound for him in recent weeks.

The Salukis took an early lead in game two, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth after senior right fielder Ryan Smith led-off with a single to center field and scored on Blackfan’s double into the left-center field gap to make it 1-0 in favor of Southern.

Marciano limited the damage due to his control issues through the first four innings Saturday, but faltered in the top of the fifth inning leading to his exit in favor of senior pitcher Austin McPheron.

He finished his day with 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on two hits while walking five batters, hitting one and striking out four.

With three runs off of Marciano giving them a 3-1 lead after five, the Patriots jumped all over McPheron and freshman pitcher Alex Gutermuth in the top of the sixth to add four more runs and take a commanding 7-1 lead.

With Blackfan on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, lightning was sighted during freshman catcher Mitch Fairfield’s at-bat and the game was delayed.

The weather worsened, causing the game to be suspended until Sunday when SIU and DBU tried to find a window in the weather to complete the game.

But proper weather conditions did not present themselves, and the game was called at 7-1 in favor of Dallas Baptist in the bottom of the sixth inning — as the minimum five innings to make a game official had been completed Saturday — giving Dallas Baptist the win in game three and a 2-1 series win over Southern.

SIU (23-22, 6-6 MVC) will host non-conference opponent University of Illinois at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Itchy Jones Stadium before MVC-leading Missouri State (30-13, 11-0 MVC) travels to Carbondale on Friday for the first game of a three-game weekend conference series against Southern.

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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