Saluki baseball dominates UC Irvine


Brian Munoz

UC Irvine outfielder Jake Palmer (28) slides into second Friday, March 23, 2018, during the University of California-Irvine Anteaters’ 6-2 victory against the Southern Illinois Salukis at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

The SIU baseball team hosted the UC Irvine Anteaters (11-12) on Saturday for the second matchup of a three-game series.

Following an extra-inning loss last night, SIU showed off its offensive abilities, dominating the Anteaters 11-2.

The Salukis came out firing on all cylinders, as sophomore right fielder Addison Fugitt reached on a fielder’s choice and senior shortstop Connor Kopach reached second an outfield error.


With a ball that was just short of clearing the wall, senior first baseman Logan Blackfan cleared the bases with a stand-up double for a 2-0 lead in the first.

Southern continued its charge in the second inning after freshman third baseman Grey Epps reached on a hard-hit single past the third baseman.

“He’s getting it figured out,” head coach Ken Henderson said. “He’s starting to swing it a lot better.”

Then, freshman center fielder Brad Hudson advanced the runner to third with a double down the third base line. The two made their way home on single to left center by junior second baseman Nikola Vasic that stretched the lead to 4-0.

With the refusal to slow down, the Salukis put more runs in the fourth with a solo home run by sophomore designated hitter Brad Harrison. The homer marked Harrison’s first as a Saluki.

After Hudson walked, Vasic singled to center but, due to a fielding error, Vasic made it all the way home for two more runs and a 7-0 lead. Southern added one more run before they were retired and held an 8-0 lead after four.

SIU put up three more runs across the seventh and eighth inning. The Anteaters plated two in the ninth before the Salukis secured the 11-2 victory and tied the series at one game each.


Senior starting pitcher Jamison Steege (3-1) earned the win after seven scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

“I felt pretty comfortable,” Steege said. “I knew what things I was doing wrong, I just needed to fix them. Once I figured it out I felt really good.”

The Salukis had one of their better offensive performances, as they put up 14 hits with only six strikeouts.

“We were more aggressive and we got after it,” Henderson said. “That was the key to the game.”

SIU spread their hits evenly throughout the lineup as only one player in the starting lineup did not record a hit.

The Salukis (11-12) will host the final game of the three-game series tomorrow against the Anteaters. The first has been moved to 12 p.m. due to weather concerns. Harrison (3-1, 2.27 ERA) will get the start for SIU.

“We were a much better ball club today,” Henderson said. “I’m very proud of our guys. It was a great bounce-back win.”

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

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