Steege leads Saluki baseball past North Florida

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

SIU baseball took on the North Florida Ospreys in the second of a three-game series Saturday afternoon.

After a tough loss that saw extra innings last night, SIU looked to even up the series with a bounce-back win.

A seventh-inning rally and dominant pitching by the Salukis proved too much for the Ospreys (2-4) and SIU took the 6-2 win.


Senior shortstop Connor Kopach kicked things off for the Salukis in his first at-bat with a full-count single up the middle and then proceeded to steal second base.

SIU’s junior second baseman Nikola Vasic was then hit by a pitch. Kopach and Vasic completed a double steal that put runners in scoring position.

Southern went up 2-0 after senior first baseman Logan Blackfan hit a two-run single to right field.

After five scoreless innings, the Salukis added four more runs to the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore designated hitter Brad Harrison reached on a walk followed by sophomore catcher Mitch Fairfield who reached on a fielding error.

Then, sophomore center fielder Addison Fugitt reached on an infield single and loaded the bases.

After a wild pitch, all runners advanced and Harrison came across to score.


Kopach then hit a deep triple to center field that drove in two more runs for Southern.

Kopach finished the game 4-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

Up 5-0, the Salukis scored one last run in the inning as Kopach reached home on a single by Vasic.

After senior left-handed pitcher Jamison Steege pitched eight scoreless innings, head coach Ken Henderson handed the ball over to sophomore reliever Alex Gutermuth for the ninth.

Steege struck out two batters and did not walk any on 86 pitches. The senior pitcher gave up only four hits in the contest and forced 10 fly outs and 12 ground outs.

Gutermuth could not finish the game, as he gave up two walks and a two-run double to deep right-center. With two recorded outs in the ninth, Southern turned to senior closer Ryan Netemeyer.

After he suffered the loss last night, Netemeyer bounced back and nailed down the game on a fly out and gave SIU the 6-2 win.

Steege (1-0) picked up his first win of the young season.

The Salukis (2-4) will finish off the three-game series against North Florida tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. Junior pitcher Mason Hiser (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will get the start for the Salukis against senior Adam Polansky (0-0, 1.93 ERA).

Sports reporter Dillon Gilliland can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DillonGilliland.

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