Salukis face NIU for 3 games in 2 days

    Donny Duschinsky is tied for the Missouri Valley Conference lead with three home runs.

    Donny Duschinsky is tied for the Missouri Valley Conference lead with three home runs.
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    Feb. 27, 2014

    Northern Illinois Huskies (0-6-1) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (5-2)
     Date Friday, Feb. 28 - Saturday, March 1
     Time Fri - noon, Sat. - 11 a.m. (doubleheader)
     Location Rent One Park - Marion, Ill. 
     Game 1
     Probables
    NIU: RHP Eli Anderson (0-1, 5.56 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Sam Coonrod (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
     Game 2
     Probables 
    NIU: LHP Jordan Ruckman (0-2, 9.35 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Todd Eaton (0-1, 8.10 ERA) 
     Game 3
     Probables 
    NIU: RHP Alex Klonowski (0-0, 6.35 ERA)
    SIU: LHP Aaron Hauge (0-1, 4.91 ERA) 
     Audio Fri - WFRX 1300-AM (radio only, no web stream)
     Video None
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Northern Illinois Get Acrobat ReaderMVC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats stats.siu.edu
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Northern Illinois | MVC
     All-Time Series Southern Illinois leads, 53-28
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball  | @SIU_Baseball  | Saluki Athletics 

    LEADING OFF Southern Illinois will look to extend its season-best four-game winning streak as the Salukis (5-2) host Northern Illinois (0-6-1) for a three-game series at Rent One Park beginning Friday at noon.

    FRIDAY'S STARTER Junior Sam Coonrod will make his third start of the season and the 28th start of his career. In each of his first two outings this year, he has allowed two earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. In two career starts against NIU, Coonrod has no record and a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings of work. He has 15 strikeouts and five walks against the Huskies.

    NORTHERN ILLINOIS SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 53-28, in a rivalry that dates back to 1948. The two teams have played at least game one against each other annually since 2004. All of those games were at Abe Martin Field in Carbondale with the exception of two games in 2008 that were held at Rent One Park. SIU lost both of those games in Marion. Last season the Salukis swept a three-game series at home against NIU. It was the fifth time in school history that SIU swept a series of three games or more against the Huskies.

    SCOUTING THE HUSKIES Northern Illinois started the season with a six-game losing streak before playing to a 10-inning, 3-3 tie in its last game at New Mexico. The Huskies rank 10th in the 12-team Mid-American Conference with a .228 batting average. Sophomore outfielder Brandon Mallder leads the team with a .429 average. The pitching staff has posted a 7.16 ERA, which ranks last in the MAC. All four of the Huskies' starting pitchers have an ERA above 5.50.

    WINNING STREAK Southern Illinois enters the week on a four-game winning streak and has outscored its opponents by an average of 5.5 runs during the streak. This matches the Salukis' longest winning streak of 2013, which stretched from March 28-April 2. SIU's last winning streak of five games or more was a six-game winning streak that included the last three games of the 2012 regular season and the first three games of the MVC Tournament.

    HITTING THE HUSKIES Southern's big bats produced in 2013's sweep of NIU. Jake Welch, Matt Jones, Ryan Casillas and Donny Duschinsky hit a combined .409 and drove in 11 SIU's 14 runs in the three game series. Casillas led the group of now seniors with a 5-for-11 (.455) performance in the series.

    SATURDAY'S STARTERS In the first game Saturday, Todd Eaton will make his third start of the season and his sixth career start. The converted closer is second on SIU's all-time list with 19 career saves. Last Saturday, Eaton allowed four runs off nine hits in 5.0 innings of work at Nicholls State. He left in line for the win before SIU surrendered a 7-3 lead and eventually won in 11 innings. In the second gmae, junior Aaron Hauge will make his second career start for SIU. Last Sunday, his scheduled start against Louisiana-Monroe was rained out. In his Saluki debut on Feb. 16 at Western Kentucky, he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings and took the loss.

    LIGHTS OUT RELIEVERS Through seven games, SIU's relievers have posted a combined 0.48 ERA and recorded all five of the team's victories. The bullpen has allowed two earned runs in 37.1 innings of work, compared to the starters who have only thrown 25.2 innings. Of the 10 relief pitchers the Salukis have used this season, only two of them have surrendered an earned run and only five have allowed a hit. SIU's four freshman relievers are 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA in 19.1 innings of work. 

    WINNING TIME The Salukis have come from behind in four of their five victories this season. SIU is 2-0 in one-run games and 1-0 in extra-inning games. Southern has outscored its opponents 18-3 after the sixth inning this season.

    AWAY FROM HOME As a result of the NIU series being moved to Rent One Park, the Salukis will now start the season by playing 15 games before playing their first home game. This is the most road or neutral site games to start a season for the Salukis since 1990 when SIU played 10 neutral site games and five road games before its home opener. That year Southern Illinois won nine of its first 10 home games en route to its last conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

    RUNNING HOME After not attempting a stolen base in the first three games of the season, Southern is 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts during its current four-game winning streak. All six successful stolen bases have led directly to that baserunner scoring a run.

    NEW HOME Southern Illinois will play its home games at new Richard "Itchy" Jones Stadium. The facility is being named in honor of SIU's all-time winningest coach thanks to a $4 million renovation at the site of Abe Martin Field. SIU will open the new facility with a three-game series against Illinois March 14-16. The stadium features a new AstroTurf playing surface, the installation of stadium lights and new dugouts along with a new press box, seating bowl and concession area.

    LOOKING AHEAD After this weekend, SIU's next five games will be on the road. The Salukis face Belmont in a nonconference game on Tuesday, March 4 at 4 p.m. SIU will then travel to South Alabama for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 7. The road trip concludes with a game against 2013 College World Series runner up Mississippi State on Tuesday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m.


     

     

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