SIU visits Middle Tennessee for Tuesday, Wednesday series

    SIU split the series with the Blue Raiders in Carbondale in 2012.

    SIU split the series with the Blue Raiders in Carbondale in 2012.
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    March 11, 2013

    Southern Illinois (8-6, 0-0 MVC) vs. Middle Tennessee (10-5, 0-0 Sun Belt)
     Date Tuesday, March 12 and Wednesday, March 13
     Time Tues. - 3 p.m., Wed. - 3 p.m.
     Location Murfreesboro, Tenn. - Reese Smith Jr. Field
    Probables Tues. - RHP Bryce Sablotny (1-0, 5.27) vs. RHP Garrett Ring (0-1, 4.91)
    Wed. - TBA vs. TBA 
     Radio Both games on WFRX 1300-AM and Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    The Last Meeting
    Middle Tennessee State3
    Southern Illinois5
    March 7, 2012
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Baseball splits with Middle Tennessee with a 5-3 win
    The Salukis (8-5) bounce back from a rough home opener on the strength of four perfect innings from the bullpen. SIU held Middle Tennessee to just two hits after the second inning.

    MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Southern Illinois baseball team will visit Middle Tennessee State for a two-game series beginning Tuesday, March 12 at 3 p.m. The Salukis are currently riding a three-game winning streak, which matches their longest of the season.

    TUESDAY’S STARTER Bryce Sablotny will make his fourth start of the season. In his last outing, he threw four and a third innings and allowed five runs, although only two of those runs were earned. All of the damage came against him in the fifth inning after he limited Murray State to three hits in the first four innings.

    MIDDLE TENNESSEE SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois trails the all-time series, 14-7. In a rivalry that dates back to 1993, the Salukis have faced Middle Tennessee at least once a year since 2005. In 2012, the two schools split a two-game series in Carbondale. SIU won the last game of the series to break a nine-game losing streak against the Blue Raiders that had dated back to 2009. SIU is 4-10 all-time on the road against MT.

    SCOUTING THE BLUE RAIDERS After starting the season 9-2, Middle Tennessee has lost three of its last four games. This past weekend the Blue Raiders lost two of three at home to Xavier but avoided the sweep with a 24-4 win on Sunday. With 26 hits in Sunday’s game, MT raised its team batting average from .253 to .279, which ranks sixth in the 10-team Sun Belt Conference. Michael Adkins lead the team with a .389 batting average, while preseason All-Conference selection Trent Miller is hitting .192 through 15 games. The Blue Raiders are second in the Sun Belt with a 3.33 team ERA and have held opponents to a conference-best .229 batting average against.

    HITTING NOTES SIU has recorded more hits than its opponents in 13 of 15 games this season. The Salukis have tied their opponent once in hits and been outhit in only one game this season, which was on the second day of the season. SIU averages 9.6 hits per game, and its 144 hits are three shy of the Missouri Valley Conference lead.

    LATE GAME OFFENSE In SIU’s three-game weekend sweep of Northern Illinois, the Salukis were outscored 4-1 in the first five innings but outscored the Huskies 14-3 in the sixth inning and later. Southern Illinois only began four of the 27 innings of the series with a lead. The Dawgs scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning or later in all three games, including a walk-off sacrifice fly in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

    WHAT A RELIEF Southern Illinois’ bullpen has not allowed an earned run in the last 11 and two-thirds innings pitched. That stretches over three-plus games. The Saluki pen has allowed only four hits during the streak. The last time an SIU reliever allowed an earned run was in the eighth inning of the March 6 game at Murray State.

    RAIDER HATER SIU second baseman Jake Welch has hit .636 (7-for-11) with for runs scored in three career games against the Blue Raiders. Last year against Middle Tennessee, Welch went 6-for-8, including a career-best four-hit performance in the first game of the series.

    LOOKING AHEAD Starting with Tuesday’s game, the Salukis will play seven games in eight days. Following the Middle Tennessee series, SIU host intrastate rival Illinois for a four-game series from Friday, March 15 through Monday, March 18. Sunday’s game will be at Rent One Park in Marion, Ill., and the remaining three games will be played at Abe Martin Field. On Tuesday, March 19 the Salukis will travel to Eastern Illinois for a single nonconference game before opening the conference slate on March 22 at Indiana State.