Salukis host Purdue for 3-game series starting Friday

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    Matt Murphy is one of six SIU relievers with an ERA under 1.00.
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    March 20, 2014

    Purdue Boilermakers (2-14, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (11-8, 0-0 MVC)
     Date Friday, March 21 - Sunday, March 23
     Time Fri - 1 p.m., Sat. - 2 p.m., Sun. - 1 p.m.
     Location Richard "Itchy" Jones Stadium - Carbondale, Ill. 
     Game 1
    PUR: LHP Jordan Minch (0-4, 7.31 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Sam Coonrod (0-2, 4.37 ERA)
     Game 2
    PUR: RHP Gavin Downs (1-2, 3.81 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Todd Eaton (1-2, 5.22 ERA) 
     Game 3
    PUR: LHP Tim McElroy (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
    SIU: LHP Aaron Hauge (2-1, 1.52 ERA) 
     Radio All three games on 1300 WFRX-AM and streaming on Salukis All-Access.
    Mike Reis will call the play-by-play. 
     Video Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | MVC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Purdue | MVC
     All-Time Series tied, 4-4
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball  | @SIU_Baseball  | Saluki Athletics 

    LEADING OFF Southern Illinois will try to extend its winning streak to match a season-best four games when it wraps up the homestand with a three-game series against Purdue beginning Friday, March 21 at 1 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium.

    FRIDAY’S STARTER Junior Sam Coonrod will make his sixth start of the season and the 31st start of his career. In his last outing, Coonrod allowed four runs off seven hits and took the loss in a 5-1 defeat against Illinois. In his previous two starts, he had a 2.25 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings. He is nine punchouts away from 150 for his career. Last year at Purdue, he allowed four runs, three of them earned, and struck out eight in 7.0 innings but took the loss.

    PURDUE SERIES NOTES The all-time series is even at 4-4. The Salukis won a single game against Purdue in 1961 and again in 1988. However, six of the eight all-time meetings between the two teams have occured since 2010. SIU took two out of three games from the Boilers at Abe Martin Field in 2010 and were swept by Purdue in a three-game series in West Lafayette in 2013.

    SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS Purdue broke an eight-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over Butler on Wednesday. The Boilers, who have not yet played a home game, have had a difficult schedule with weekend series against traditional powers Tennessee, Rice, LSU and San Diego State. Purdue’s roster features 23 freshmen and sophomores and only three seniors. PU is last in the Big Ten in both batting average (.225) and ERA (8.34). Sean McHugh leads the Boilers with a .302 average. He is the teams’ only .300 hitter. Opponents are hitting .351 against Purdue on the season.

    WINNING STREAK SIU enters the weekend having won three in a row, all at new Itchy Jones Stadium. SIU’s longest home winning streak of 2013 was four games, which it accomplished twice. This is the third time Southern has won three games in a row this season. Its season high is a four-game winning streak.

    CLOSE CALLS More than half (10 of 19) of the Salukis’ games have been decided by one run. Each of SIU’s last three games and seven of SIU’s last 10 games have been one-run games. Two of those seven games were decided in extra-innings. The Salukis have won five of their last seven one-run games and are 7-3 overall in one-run games in 2014.

    HITTING AT HOME In four games at Itchy Jones Stadium, the Salukis have hit .301 compared to a team batting average of .241 on the road. However, SIU’s on-base percentage is actually two points lower at home, and despite a 3-1 record at home, the Salukis are averaging 3.3 runs per game at home compared to 4.6 runs per game in 11 road games.

    SATURDAY, SUNDAY STARTERS On Saturday, Todd Eaton will make his sixth start of the season and his ninth career start. Last Saturday against Illinois, he picked up his first win of the season. In the game, Eaton allowed five runs, four of them earned, in 5.1 innings of work. After surrendering four runs off five hits in the first inning, he held the Illini to three hits the rest of the way. In his five starts in 2014, 11 of the 19 runs he has allowed have come in the first inning. On Sunday, Aaron Hauge will make his fifth career start with the Salukis. He is sixth in the MVC with a 1.52 ERA. In his last outing, he tossed 7.0 scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season. Over his last three starts, Hauge has allowed two runs off 10 hits in 20.0 innings of work.

    BATTLING THE BOILERS Six current Saluki hitters had at least one at-bat in the three-game series at Purdue last year, and they hit a combined .240 (12 for 50) with one homer and four RBIs. Ryan Casillas and Jake Welch had the best numbers against the Boilers. Casillas went 2 for 6 with a pair of RBIs, and Welch hit .308 in 13 at-bats with an RBI and a stolen base. 

    WELCH NEARING TOP 10 Jake Welch enters the weekend with 757 career at-bats at SIU. He is seven at-bats away from tying Nathan Emrick for 10th all-time at SIU with 764. Welch is also nearing joining the top 10 in hits and runs scored. His 223 career hits are 23 away from joining the top 10, and his 135 runs are 12 shy of the top 10.

    GOOD START With a win in the series opener, SIU would improve to 12-8, matching its best start through 20 games since 2007. The Salukis also started  12-8 in 2008 and 2012. They have not had a better start since beginning the year 14-6 in 2007. If SIU wins the first two games of the series, its 13-8 record would be its best record through 21 games since starting 15-6 in 2007.

    HISTORIC LOWS The Salukis have a team ERA of 2.91 and have held opponents to a .216 batting average., which is the lowest in the MVC. Southern Illinois has not finished a season with a team ERA under 3.00 since the Salukis had a 2.71 ERA in 1979. SIU hasn’t posted a team ERA under 4.00 since 2005. The .216 batting average is the lowest against the Salukis since SIU held opposing hitters to a .203 average in 1974.

    NEW HOME SIU has moved into new Richard “Itchy” Jones Stadium thanks to a $4.2 million renovation at the site of Abe Martin Field. Named after SIU’s all-time winningest baseball coach, the stadium features a new AstroTurf playing surface, stadium lights and new dugouts along with a new press box, seating bowl and concession area.

    LOOKING AHEAD After this weekend, SIU returns to the road for a 3 p.m. game against Murray State on Tuesday, March 25. The Salukis will then open the conference slate with a three-game series at Missouri State beginning  Friday, March 28. The following week, SIU will face Missouri in O’Fallon, Mo. on Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. before returning home to host Murray State the following day at 5 p.m.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois5
    May 5, 2013
    West Lafayette, Ind.
    Boilers hand SIU 10-5 defeat to complete three-game sweep
    An early offensive barrage carried Purdue to a 10-5 defeat of Southern Illinois Sunday afternoon at Alexander Field. Purdue (16-27) scored seven runs in the first two innings and held on to complete the three-game sweep of the Salukis (21-27). The Boilermakers became the fourth team to sweep a three-game series from SIU this season.