Daily Egyptian

Salukis take first series over Shockers in 10 years

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

A wild eighth inning and pitching duel lead to an entertaining game in SIU baseball’s 4-1 win over Wichita State on Sunday for their first series win over the Shockers since 2006.

The Salukis (25-18-1, 6-6 Missouri Valley Conference) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth, two of which came on sophomore outfielder Greg Lambert’s foul out to first base.

Junior third baseman Ryan Sabo scored from third on the play.

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“Coach [Ryan] Strain was yelling ‘go go go,’ and I took off,” Sabo said. “I was surprised he tried to catch it since he was so close to the wall in foul territory, but as soon as he caught it I took off. This team is really battle-tested and we just kept fighting.”

Sophomore pitcher Michael Baird (7-3, 1.57 ERA) earned the win throwing a complete game — his third of the season — giving up a run on four hits. His counterpart, freshman pitcher Clayton McGinness (1-2, 6.48 ERA), suffered the loss, allowing one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of work.

Baird’s ERA and seven wins rank him first in the MVC. He is the first Saluki pitcher with seven wins since Nathan Dorris in 2012.

The Salukis got on the board early on junior shortstop Will Farmer’s triple.

Wichita State (16-27, 6-6 MVC) tied the game in the eighth on senior third baseman Chase Rader’s solo home run off Baird. It was only the second home run he allowed this season.

“Giving up the home run was tough but I knew I had to come back out and keep it close,” Baird said. “It was a warm day and I didn’t have my best stuff going. I knew I had to be good to beat a tough Shocker team and just went out there and competed.”

With the win, SIU moves into a tie for fourth in conference with the Shockers.

“When you put the bat on the ball sometimes good things will happen and that’s what happened today,” coach Ken Henderson said. “This is a big series win for us coming off the loss to Dallas Baptist, and we need to keep the momentum going into next weekend.”

SIU plays Illinois at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Champaign.

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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