Luke Mottashed had four hits and drove in four runs in the victory.
Feb. 19, 2013
MARTIN, Tenn. – SIU’s offense exploded for five runs off nine hits in the first three innings Tuesday afternoon, and the Salukis (2-2) held on for an 8-4 victory over UT Martin (0-4) at Skyhawk Field.
The early offensive output was more than enough support for Bryce Sablotny to pick up the win in his first start with the Salukis. He cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one hit as SIU built up its lead.
“(The early lead) allowed me to relax,” Sablotny said. “It feels great to get that first one out of the way and to know the team’s behind you. It’s a good feeling.”
The Salukis broke the game open in the third inning with a three-run rally that extended the lead to 5-0. Matt Jones and Ryan Casillas started the inning with a pair of singles. Donny Duschinsky then drew a walk to load the bases and chase starter John Houston from the game. Reliever John Skubin induced a run-scoring double play to give SIU a 3-0 lead. Cody Daily then doubled to score Casillas, and Luke Mottashed singled home Daily to cap the rally.
Southern jumped on the board early as Donny Duschinsky hit an RBI single in the first inning, and Mottashed recorded an RBI single in the second inning to give SIU an early 2-0 lead.
“We needed to get on track offensively,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “We had some good ABs early, and I think guys loosened up a little bit after that.”
Houston was charged with four runs off seven hits in two-plus innings of work and dropped his record to 0-2 on the young season with the loss.
Continuing the early season trend, the Saluki bullpen was strong once again. Aaron Snyder, Jacob Williams and Tyler Dray each tossed a scoreless, hitless inning of relief. That extended the bullpen’s streak to 13 innings without allowing an earned run before the Skyhawks finally plated a pair of runs against Todd Eaton in the ninth.
Sablotny allowed two runs off three hits in five innings of work. All of the damage against him came in the fourth inning, the only inning in which he threw more than 10 pitches and faced more than the minimum.
“Bryce was good,” Henderson said. “He had the one inning where he lost a little bit of command, but I thought he was outstanding. He pounded the zone early and made some good pitches in some crucial situations.”
On a day where the temperature did not approach 50 degrees and on a field that absorbed a heavy rainstorm the night before, SIU helped its cause by playing flawless defense.
“The defense was outstanding,” Henderson said. “This time of year, in cold and wet conditions, to have no errors is probably the thing I’m most excited about.”
The midweek win could be a harbinger for the Salukis who dropped four of their first five midweek games in 2012.
“It starts on the mound,” Henderson said. “We started a guy who is awfully good rather than trying to piece it together. I thought our demeanor this year was better than it was for midweek games last year. I hope we can build off this.”
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