Daily Egyptian

Saluki Baseball opens season 1-2 against Nicholls State

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

THIBODAUX, La. – The SIU baseball team opened their season this weekend against Nicholls State with a three game set, going 1-2 over the three days.

Game 1: Southern opened their first game of the season with a 6-5 win over Nicholls State on Friday.

The game had five lead changes as both teams were searching for a win, where neither team led for more than two innings of play.

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Junior Brad Harrison earned the start for the Salukis on the mound. He struggled early allowing two walks in the first inning and a bunt by the Colonels to open up the scoring at 1-0 early.

In the third inning of play, junior infielder Ian Walters and junior infielder Philip Archer put Southern on the board with a single by Walters which brought senior infielder Nikola Vasic home, then Archer brought Walters home with a single to knot the score at 2-2.

After giving up the one run early Harrison only allowed two more earned runs over five innings of work with the second hit he gave up being a two run home run for Nicholls State to give the Colonels the 3-2 lead.

Sophomore Noah Farmer came in for relief of Harrison in the sixth inning and he worked 2.2 innings giving up five hits and two walks which allowed for Nicholls to score in the sixth and seventh innings to knot the score up at 5-5.

Sophomore J.T. Weber hit a single with one out in the top of the eighth and then a hit and run executed by sophomore infielder Grey Epps put runners on first and third, Epps then stole second in where the second baseman missed the throw from the catcher allowing for Weber to go home and take the 6-5 lead.

Nicholls loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but the Southern defense held on for the 6-5 win in their opener.

Game 2: In game two of the three game set against Nicholls State the Salukis battled the Colonels for 14 innings but ultimately fell 3-2.

Southern only used three pitchers through the 14 inning marathon with junior pitcher Dylan Givens getting the start on the mound on Saturday.

Givens worked through 5.1 innings only allowing two earned runs to go along with two hits and three walks in his first appearance in a Saluki uniform.

Freshman pitcher Sam Grace then came on to relieve Givens with one out in the fifth inning, helping keep the score at 2-0 by picking off the Nicholls runner at second base and going on to pitch three more scoreless innings.

The Nicholls pitching rotation held their ground with Southern as the Salukis were unable to put a number on the board until the seventh inning when Walters reached base on an infield single, Archer then sent a single to left field bringing Walters home and cut the deficit to 2-1.

In the ninth, the Salukis were down to their last out but senior outfielder Alex Lyon sent a pitch to right center field, which sent senior outfielder Will Larue home to knot the score up at 2-2.

Freshman pitcher Matthew Steidl replaced Grace in the tenth inning and went four innings, forcing double plays in both the tenth and 11th innings to help keep the score tied.

The lone hit in the 14th past Steidl was enough for the Colonels, allowing Nicholls to walk away 3-2 victors.

Game 3: In the final game of the series on Sunday, the Salukis fell to the Colonels, 7-3.

Sophomore pitcher Blake Begner made his debut for Southern and he held the Nicholls lineup in check over four innings only allowing two hits and one run.

In the fifth inning Begner ran into trouble as he gave up a leadoff single and two more singles which pushed the Colonel lead out to 4-0 in the fifth inning.

Junior pitcher Justin Yeager, senior pitcher Matt DeSomer and freshman pitcher Corey Mitson pitched the final three innings of the game with each of them giving up one run.

The Saluki offense was unable to get started with Nicholls freshman pitcher Shane Mejia in the game as he only allowed three hits and one walk in six innings.

In the seventh inning the Southern bats started to wake up as Weber hit a two-out single which then led to Archer scoring to bring SIU within three at 4-1.

Nicholls answered the one run by the Dawgs with two more in the bottom of the seventh, Southern added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth with Vasic getting a double and Walters bringing him home on a groundout. Lyon then added a home run as SIU trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Colonels added one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Nicholls pitching rotation punched out the Saluki bats in order in the top of the ninth as SIU fell to the team, losing 7-3.

The Salukis will be back in action at Belmont on Tuesday with first pitch set for 4 p.m.

Sports editor Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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