Salukis host NIU for weekend series beginning Friday

    Jake Welch leads the team with 13 runs scored.

    Jake Welch leads the team with 13 runs scored.
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    March 7, 2013

    Northern Illinois (2-9, 0-0 MAC) vs. Southern Illinois (5-6, 0-0 MVC)
     Date Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10
     Time Fri. - 2 p.m., Sat. - 2 p.m., Sun. - 1 p.m.
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - Abe Martin Field
     Probables Fri. - LHP Jordan Ruckman (0-3, 4.96 ERA) vs. LHP Derek Fogel (0-1, 4.91 ERA) 
    Sat. - RHP Eli Anderson (1-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Sam Coonrod (1-0, 3.60 ERA)
    Sun. - RHP Alex Klonowski (1-2, 4.19 ERA) vs. LHP Cody Forsythe (1-1, 2.95 ERA) 
     Radio None
     Video Saluki All-Access: Friday | Saturday | Sunday
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Northern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Gametracker: Friday | Saturday | Sunday
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois baseball team will host Northern Illinois for a three-game nonconference series beginning Friday, March 8 at Abe Martin Field. It will be just the third, fourth and fifth home games of the season for the Salukis who will look to move their season record above .500.

    FRIDAY'S STARTER Derek Fogel will make his third start of the season and his first appearance since Feb. 24. He started the third game of each of SIU's first two weekend series, but the third game of last weekend's series against Western Kentucky was cancelled due to weather. In his last start, Fogel allowed three runs off four hits in six inning pitched and left the game with SIU leading Jacksonville State 4-3. However, he took a no-decision as the Salukis lost 5-4.

    NORTHERN ILLINOIS SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 46-28, in a rivalry that dates back to 1948. Over the last three years, SIU is 3-3 against the Huskies. In 2012, the two teams split a pair of games at Abe Martin Field. This will be the first time the two teams meet for a three-game series since 2010.

    SCOUTING THE HUSKIES Northern Illinois is off to a 2-9 start to the season and began the year with a six-game losing streak. However, the Huskies won their last game, beating Minnesota in the Metrodome. NIU is hitting just .227 as a team. Alex Klonowski leads the squad with a .316 average. He is the only Huskie hitting above .290. The pitching staff has posted a 5.97 ERA. However, the three scheduled starters for the weekend have a combined 3.95 ERA despite their 2-7 record.

    INSIDE THE NUMBERS Although SIU enters the weekend a game under .500, the Salukis have a better batting average, ERA and fielding percentage than their opponents. Southern is hitting .287 and holding opponents to a .231 average. SIU's team ERA of 4.12 is more than a half run lower than their opponents' 4.78 ERA, and the Salukis' .964 fielding percentage is slightly better than the .959 fielding percentage their opponents have recorded. Overall, the Salukis have outscored their opponents by a margin of 68-54.

    CLOSE LOSSES In five wins, SIU has outscored it's opponents by an average of 4.8 runs. However, in six losses, SIU has been outscored by an average of only 1.7 runs. SIU is 1-2 in one-run games and 0-3 in two-run games. Southern's lone one-run victory came on Opening Day. The Salukis have not lost by more than three runs all year.

    SATURDAY, SUNDAY STARTERS Sam Coonrod will make the start in Saturday's game. Last time out, the sophomore turned in one of the best outings of his career to earn his first win of 2013. He held Western Kentucky to a single run off four hits, matching career bests in innings pitched with six and strikeouts with seven. On Sunday, Cody Forsythe will make his fourth start of the season and become just the sixth pitcher in school history to start 38 career games. In his last start, Forsythe lasted seven and a third innings, the longest outing by a Saluki this season. He was charged with five runs, although only three of them were earned. He allowed one earned run in his first seven innings of work.

    EARLY ATTACK Southern Illinois has scored first in seven of the last nine games. Despite losing four of their last five games, the Salukis have been leading or tied in the sixth inning or later in all five of those games.

    MONTGOMERY HEATING UP After starting the season 2-for-15, Austin Montgomery is hitting .452 with four doubles, a home run and 10 RBI in the last seven games. In five of those seven games, he has recorded at least three hits. He has also driven in a run in each of the last four games.

    WEEKEND PITCHING In three weekend series this season, the SIU pitching staff has combined for a 3.13 ERA, more than three runs lower than the team ERA in weekday games. The Salukis are also holding opponents to a .225 batting average in weekend contests.

    DAILY HITS After starting the season 0-for-8, Cody Daily has rattled off an eightgame hit streak. He is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with four multi-hit games and nine walks during that stretch. The eight-game hitting streak matches Matt Jones for the longest by a Saluki in 2013. Jake Welch began the season with a 14-game hitting streak which included the last seven games of 2012.

    STRONG HITTING The Salukis have scored at least six runs in six of their last eight games. They have not been held to fewer than four runs in any of those contests. During that stretch, SIU is averaging 8.7 runs per game along with 11.6 hits per game and has recorded double digit hit totals six times. In 11 games this season, Southern Illinois has only been outhit by its opponent one time.

    HIT BATSMEN NOTES Through 11 games, SIU hitters have already been hit by 16 pitches, which is half of last year's season total of 32. Ryan Casillas leads the team. He has been plunked six times. Saluki pitchers have hit 18 batters this season, compared to last year's season total of 43.

    LOOKING AHEAD Starting with this series, the Salukis will play 10 games in 12 days before opening the conference season. SIU will play a two-game series at Middle Tennessee on Tuesday, March 12 and Wednesday March 13 before returning home for a four-game series against Illinois. That series will start on Friday, March 15 and stretch through Monday, March 18. It will be immediately followed by a trip to Eastern Illinois for a single nonconference game on Tuesday, March 19.



    Thursday, May 26
    Baseball Terre Haute, Ind. 3:00 PM
    Friday, May 27
    Baseball Terre Haute, Ind. TBA
    Saturday, May 28
    Baseball Terre Haute, Ind. TBA