Daily Egyptian

Salukis rally in ninth for second win in Evansville

By Nathan Dodd, Sports Editor

Coming off a gem by senior pitcher Michael Baird that resulted in a 2-0 victory on Friday, the SIU baseball team turned to senior hurler Jamison Steege on Saturday to lock down a series victory over Evansville (7-29, 1-10 MVC).

Despite a shaky first inning by the Saluki defense, Steege (4-3) tossed six strong innings for Southern and set the table for the Salukis’ comeback victory.

With a three-run rally in the ninth, SIU downed the Purple Aces 5-4, clinching the first two games of the series.

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After a single and two flyouts opened the first for Evansville, the Purple Aces pieced together a two-out rally to take an early lead.

With an error and an RBI double from sophomore center fielder Kenton Crews, UE took a 1-0 advantage.

The very next batter, senior catcher Andrew Tanous, drove home two more with an RBI two-bagger of his own that extended the lead to three.

Southern got a run back in the top of the second after two of the first three batters in the inning reach on a single and a walk.

Freshman third baseman Grey Epps drove home one run on a single for his 12th RBI of the season. Epps finished the day 3-4 with one run scored and an RBI.

Evansville pushed the lead back to three in the bottom of the frame as a double and a steal by junior second baseman Sam Troyer put a runner at third with only one out.

Senior third baseman Stewart Nelson immediately drove in Troyer with an RBI groundout for a 4-1 lead.

After SIU scored another run on an error in the third, all scoring ceased until the final inning when the Salukis struck for three runs.

With one out, Southern started a rally that began with two walks and a single that loaded the bases.

Junior second baseman Nikola Vasic stepped to the plate and was drilled with a pitch that brought a run across and cut the deficit to one.

An infield single from junior left fielder Alex Lyon — who went 2-5 with a run and an RBI — knotted the game up at four and set the Salukis up for a prime chance to take the lead in the late going.

Connor Kopach, the Salukis’ senior shortstop, then lifted a fly ball to center field for a sacrifice fly, giving Southern a chance to pull off the comeback. Kopach finished the game 2-3.

The Salukis turned to senior closer Ryan Netemeyer in the ninth to try and nail down the victory and earn his eighth save of the campaign.

Despite a one-out single, Netemeyer hurled a clean ninth for the 5-4 win and the series victory.

Freshman reliever Noah Farmer (3-1) picked up the win as he only allowed one hit in two innings of work.

SIU (23-20, 6-5 MVC) will look for the sweep of UE tomorrow in the final game of the series. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Sophomore Brad Harrison (4-3, 3.53 ERA) will get the start for Southern.

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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