SIU opens home schedule against Western Kentucky Sunday and Monday

    Cody Daily is hitting .471 over the last five games.

    Cody Daily is hitting .471 over the last five games.
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    March 1, 2013

    Western Kentucky (3-5, 0-0 Sun Belt) vs. Southern Illinois (4-4, 0-0 MVC)
     Date Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4
     Time Sun. - 1 p.m., Mon. - 1 p.m.
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - Abe Martin Field
    Probables Sun. - RHP Andrew Edwards (0-0, 4.32 ERA) vs. RHP Sam Coonrod (0-0, 5.00 ERA) 
    Mon. - LHP Tim Bado (0-1, 2.61) vs. LHP Cody Forsythe (0-0, 0.00) 
     Radio None
     Game Notes Southern Illinois
     Live Stats Sunday | Monday
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois baseball team will host Western Kentucky for a pair of games beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. Sunday will be the home opener for the Salukis who evened their record at 4-4 with an 11-8 loss at Austin Peay on Tuesday.

    SUNDAY’S STARTER Sam Coonrod will make his third start of the season. In two starts in 2013, he has no record. However, the Salukis have won both games he has started. In his last outing he surrendered two runs, only one of them earned, off just one hit. However, he issued a career-high six walks as he took a no-decision in a 12-6 Saluki victory.

    WESTERN KENTUCKY SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 24-9, and took two out of three games at Western Kentucky in 2012. The two teams played annually from 1967 through 1978 with the exception of 1973. SIU won 11 in a row against the Hilltoppers from 1972 through 1978. Since then the schools have met just eight times. Southern has won three of its last four games against WKU.

    SCOUTING THE HILLTOPPERS Western Kentucky lost to Belmont on Tuesday and Wednesday to drop its record to 3-5 on the season. The Hilltoppers are hitting .263 as a team. Senior catcher Devin Kelly is leading WKU in all three triple crown categories with a .407 average, two homers and eight RBI. The pitching staff has posted a 4.01 ERA, last in the Sun Belt Conference, but is second in the Sun Belt Conference with 92 strikeouts in 74 innings of work. Hilltopper pitchers have already picked off six runners.

    CHANGE OF PLANS The Western Kentucky series was originally scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday but was rescheduled due to a snow storm.

    EARLY ATTACK In the first three innings of games this season, Southern Illinois is hitting .356 and has scored 18 runs in eight games. In five of the last six games, SIU has scored first.

    MONTGOMERY’S HONORS Austin Montgomery is one of 30 Division I baseball student-athletes selected as a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate baseball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. In addition, Montgomery earned MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors this week for the second time in his career. He went 7-for-18 with four RBI in four games last week and is majoring in mechanical engineering with a 3.47 GPA.

    MONDAY STARTER Lefty Cody Forsythe will move into a sixth-place tie on SIU’s all-time list by making his 37th career start with the Salukis. In his last outing, Forsythe allowed three runs off six hits in six innings of work to pick up his first win of the season. After two starts, he is ninth in the MVC with a 2.45 ERA.

    LAST FIVE GAMES After managing just six runs off 19 hits and a .196 batting average in the season’s opening series, SIU’s offense is averaging 8.8 runs per game over the last five games. During that stretch, the Salukis have hit .335 with 13 doubles. In four of the last five games, SIU has scored at least eight runs and recorded at least 10 hits. Cody Daily and Matt Jones have led the charge. In the last five games, Daily is hitting .471 and Jones is hitting .478.

    JONES PLAYER OF THE WEEK Junior catcher Matt Jones was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on Monday and the Louisville Slugger Player of the Week on Wednesday for his performance in the previous week’s games. Jones had a red hot week at the plate for SIU, hitting .474 with 10 RBI in four games. In a three-game series at Jacksonville State, Jones went 8-for-15 with three doubles and three multi-hit games. On Friday he recorded three hits and drove in five runs, the most by a player in the MVC this season. He followed up that performance by recording three more hits and driving in five more runs in Saturday’s game. His nine hits during the week gave him a conference leading 15 on the season. This past Tuesday he went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a triple at Austin Peay.

    CATCHER PRODUCTION Matt Jones and Luke Mottashed have alternated behind the plate this season with each starting four games. In eight games, the catcher’s spot in the order has batted .455 (15-for-33) with five doubles and 11 RBI. That doesn’t even include Jones’ 8-for-17 effort and six RBI in four starts as the DH.

    FORSYTHE CLIMBING  SIU CAREER LISTS Senior Cody Forsythe enters the weekend having thrown 256 and two-thirds innings in his SIU career. That puts him 10th on the SIU career list. With six more innings pitched, he will surpass Cody Adams for ninth place, and with eight more innings, he will tie Harry Gurley for eighth place. In addition, Forsythe has 187 career strikeouts, which is 12 punchouts shy of joining the top 10.

    LOOKING AHEAD Starting with this series, the Salukis will be home for three straight weekends and four of the next five weekends. Nine of the next 12 contests on the schedule are home games. March will be a busy month with 13 games scheduled in 17 days, starting with Sunday’s series opener. After facing Western Kentucky, SIU will visit Murray State on Tuesday, March 5 before hosting NIU for a three-game series March 8-10.