The month of April has been kind of a wash for the SIU baseball team.
They were 10-8 during April and didn’t help matters by getting beat in a key series by Dallas Baptist — the team just above the Salukis in the MVC standings.
However in the first game of the three-game weekend series Friday, the Dawgs got a promising 4-2 pitching-fueled win by ace Chad Whitmer and reliever Ryan Netemeyer.
“That was a good college baseball game,” Head coach Ken Henderson said. “Both guys pitched around several trouble spots.”
But even in this first game, fans, managers, players and sportswriters were thoroughly disoriented by weather conditions.
Carbondale received double-digit inches of rain this past weekend, which would eventually “wash out” the final game of the three-game set Sunday. Sunday’s game was supposed to be played as the final game in a double-header Saturday.
However that third game had to be postponed until Sunday. The major problem was the lightning that accompanied the Friday and Saturday downpours.
In the Friday win, Whitmer fought through a 51-minute lightning delay and held Dallas Bapist to one run. The Salukis took a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning when Dyllin Mucha scored on a Connor Kopach sacrifice fly. That extra run was key to the win.
“I thought Mucha’s run was huge,” said Henderson. “They had to play it straight being behind three instead of two.”
Netemeyer broke former Saluki saves leader Al Levine’s 27-year-old save record of 14 in the Friday win. The Dawgs felt like they had been struck by lightning in the first game of the Saturday double-header. They lost that one 4-2 after Saluki pitcher Michael Baird pitched pretty well in the initial innings, but that’s the only thing that went right in that loss according to Henderson.
“Without a doubt, the most positive thing in the double header was that Michael Baird started to look like himself,” said Henderson. “Baird left the game only behind 1-0.”
The Saluki bullpen failed to hold the line by putting up zeros. By the eighth inning, DBU had expanded their lead to 4-0.
SIU was able to score two in the bottom of the eighth to make it 4-2 when Logan Blackfan walked, and Nick Hutchins plus Will Farmer singled to load the bases. Dylan Mucha brought in Blackfan and Hutchins with another single, but SIU could do no more in the loss.
In the second game of Saturday’s double-dip, SIU’s Joey Marciano pitched well for four innings, but his inconsistency with getting the ball into the strike zone led to him giving up three runs. With SIU trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Saluki relievers were again not up to the task of holding down an opponent’s offense.
Instead of shutting Dallas down, SIU’s Austin McPheron and Alex Gutermuth allowed DBU four more runs in the sixth. That is when the weather gods struck again.
The third game — with DBU leading SIU 7-1 — was stopped in the bottom of the sixth and rescheduled for Sunday. But, again the weather window to play was too small to complete the game on Sunday, so DBU was declared the winner. That gave Dallas a weather-aided two wins to take the three-game series.
Next up the Salukis play Illinois Tuesday in Carbondale, then a three-game series with MVC league-leader Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Itchy Jones Field.