Daily Egyptian

Defense leads Salukis past Belmont

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

SIU sophomore starting pitcher Dylan Givens looked to earn his third win against the Belmont Bruins in his fourth start of the season on Tuesday evening.

Givens’s pitching was too much for the Bruins (14-22) to handle as the Salukis took the 3-2 win.

Southern got on the scoreboard first with a run in the opening inning beginning with sophomore center fielder Addison Fugitt reaching on fielder’s choice.

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After advancing to second on a groundout, senior first baseman Logan Blackfan found the gap with a single that drove in Fugitt for the 1-0 lead.

After three scoreless innings, SIU got more runners across the plate starting with a leadoff double from junior right fielder Kenton Crawford.

With a single and a fielding error that put Fugitt on base, Crawford scored and stretched the lead to two.

Blackfan cleaned up Fugitt once again with a ball that found the gap for an RBI double and a 3-0 lead after five. Blackfan finished the game 2-4 with two RBI.

“Logan gave us a couple of big hits,” head coach Ken Henderson said. “It was huge to find a way to score.”

After pitching seven scoreless innings, sophomore starting pitcher Dylan Givens handed the ball over to freshman reliever Noah Farmer.

“We needed someone to go out on the mound and throw up some zeroes,” Henderson said. “Huge credit to Dylan for giving us those seven shutout innings.”

Farmer struggled in the eighth as he gave up four straight singles that allowed two runs, making it 3-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Coming off a blown save against Dallas Baptist, senior closer Ryan Netemeyer earned his sixth save of the season after a perfect ninth inning, preserving the 3-2 victory.

Givens (3-0) got the win with seven scoreless innings, only three hits and two strikeouts.

“Everybody was making plays behind me,” Givens said. “It really pumps you up.”

Crawford finished the game 1-3 with a run, however, his highlights of the game were two run-saving, acrobatic catches.

“He had two Sports Center-like plays,” Henderson said. “His defense was huge for us.”

SIU (19-17) will host the Murray State Racers Wednesday for it second straight midweek game. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. Junior starting pitcher Hunter Hart (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his season debut as a starter.

“Our guys were tired and didn’t have much in the tank,” Henderson said. “I’m proud of them.”

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

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