Pitching quiets Bears offense leading Salukis to win

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

Things got interesting for SIU in a 5-4 win over Missouri State on Friday.

Sophomore closer Ryan Netemeyer ( 0.70 ERA, 9 saves) induced a double play off the bat of sophomore third baseman Jake Burger with runners on first and second and only one out to end the game.

Junior pitcher Chad Whitmer (5-3, 2.46 ERA) earned the win giving up two runs on seven hits in seven innings and striking out six. Freshman pitcher Dylan Coleman (6-3, 3.97 ERA) suffered the loss allowing three runs on four hits. Netemeyer picked up his ninth save.

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Whitmer held the top-scoring offense in the Missouri Valley Conference to just two earned runs as Missouri State came into the game leading the conference in runs batted in with 301.

“I knew from the beginning I’d have to come out and throw them my best stuff because they’re a really good hitting team,” Whitmer said. “I tried to keep them guessing and off balance by just keep the ball low and getting through their lineup the first time was a big confidence boost and helped me keep them off the board.”

The Salukis (25-19-1, 7-6 MVC) got on the board early in the second on senior catcher Taylor Martin’s two-run home run. They would add another in the third on sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan’s sacrifice fly and two more in the seventh on his two run double.

“He left a changeup up in the zone and with runners on and I was able to drive it and get those runs in,” Blackfan said. “We’ve been playing great baseball as of late and we knew we needed to come out and play well against a really good Missouri State team even if their conference record doesn’t reflect that.”

The Bears (29-15, 3-9 MVC) scored two in the sixth and one in the eighth and after scoring one in the ninth off Netemeyer, they stranded the tying and winning runs.

“It was a good college baseball game on a Friday night and it was big to beat a very good ball club on the road,” coach Ken Henderson said. “All around we played well and took some good swings and our defense came up big with a couple of nice plays to save some runs.”

Game Two begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in Springfield, Mo. Junior pitcher Joey Marciano (3-4, 4.15 ERA) gets the start.

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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