Austin McPheron earned his second win of the season with six shutout innings.
April 16, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois chalked up its second shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over Austin Peay Wednesday evening at Itchy Jones Stadium. SIU (20-17) scored all three of its runs in the third inning thanks to a costly error by the Governors (14-22) and held Austin Peay to five hits in the contest.
“We pitched well and we made plays on defense,” SIU Coach Henderson said. “I’m happy for our pitchers for getting the shutout. That’s something the pitchers always strive for. I’m happy for them.”
With two outs and the bases loaded in the third, Saluki shortstop Jake Welch hit a fly ball to left-center field. Center fielder Chase Hamilton ran it down but dropped the ball, allowing all three runners to score. That would be all the scoring in the game.
Austin McPheron turned in the best outing of his freshman year with six scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season. In his third career start, McPheron limited the Governors to three singles, all of them from Rolando Gautier. He attributed his success to a different pregame approach.
“In the bullpen before the game, I tried actually hitting my spots rather than just throwing the ball right down the middle,” McPheron said. “I think that helped me key in on my spots a little bit more and helped me find the strike zone a little earlier.”
“His fastball was good,” Henderson said. “He pounded the zone and let the defense do their work. He didn’t have the best command of his breaking ball, but he threw strikes, competed and threw up zeroes.”
Austin Peay only managed to advance three runners into scoring position the entire game. The biggest threat came in the sixth when the Governors had runners at second and third base with two outs. However, McPheron struck out their No. 3 hitter, Ridge Smith to end the inning.
The bullpen was solid once again as Kyle Pruemer, Lee Weld and Tyler Dray each threw a scoreless inning of relief. Dray tossed the ninth inning and picked up his sixth save of the season in seven chances. He moves into a tie for fourth on SIU’s all-time list with 15 career saves.
“It worked out exactly as we wanted it to,” Henderson said. “That was our plan, to get (McPheron) through five or six and then get those guys an inning of work apiece.”
Southern will try to extend its winning streak to three games when it resumes conference play this weekend. The Dawgs will travel to Wichita State for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.