SIU opens conference season Friday at Indiana State

    Sam Coonrod will make the start in SIU's conference opener on Friday.

    Sam Coonrod will make the start in SIU's conference opener on Friday.
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    March 21, 2013

    Southern Illinois (9-11, 0-0 MVC) vs. Indiana State (8-7, 0-0 MVC)
     Date Friday, March 22-Sunday, March 24
     Time Fri. - 2 p.m., Sat. - 1 p.m., Sun. - 12 p.m. (All times Central)
     Location Terre Haute, Ind. - Bob Warn Field 
     Probables Fri. - RHP Sam Coonrod (1-1, 3.10 ERA) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (2-1, 1.08 ERA) 
    Sat. - LHP Cody Forsythe (1-1, 3.29) vs. RHP Devin Moore (2-1, 3.10 ERA)
    Sun. - LHP Derek Fogel (1-0, 3.28 ERA) vs. RHP Daniel Peterson (0-2, 4.15 ERA) 
     Radio WFRX 1300-AM and streaming live on Saluki All-Access
     Video Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Indiana State Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Provided by Indiana State
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Southern Illinois baseball team will open conference play with a three-game series at Indiana State. The series gets underway on Friday at 2 p.m. Central Time.

    FRIDAY’S STARTER Sam Coonrod will make his sixth start of the season and his seventh career Valley start. In his last outing, Coonrod allowed three runs off six hits in seven innings against Illinois and took his first loss of the year. The sophomore has held opponents to a .204 batting average this season and leads the team with 24 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. In his lone start against Indiana State in 2012, Coonrod allowed four runs in five innings and took the loss in a 10-4 defeat.

    INDIANA STATE SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series 90-70 in a rivalry that dates back to 1960. Coach Henderson has posted a 5-4 head coaching record against the Sycamores. ISU swept the Salukis in Carbondale in 2012. SIU is 11-10 against Indiana State in the last seven years and has posted an 8-8 record in its last five trips to Terre Haute. In their last series in Terre Haute, the Salukis took two of three from the Sycamores in May of 2011.

    SCOUTING THE SYCAMORES Indiana State has won three of its last four and five of its last seven to improve to 8-7 on the year. The Sycamores are hitting .254 as a team, the lowest batting average in the conference. Casey McCurdy is leading the team with a .355 average, although he has only started eight games. No ISU hitter who has started at least 10 games has an average better than .290. The Sycamores have a 3.46 team ERA, which is second best in the Valley. The staff is anchored by preseason All-American Sean Manaea who is projected to be a first round pick in this June’s MLB draft.

    CONFERENCE OPENER SIU has won four of its last five conference opening series. In those series, the Salukis have a combined record of 11-4, which includes sweeps of Evansville in 2011 and Northern Iowa in 2009. Southern Illinois has opened the conference season on the road only once in the last five years.

    SATURDAY, SUNDAY STARTERS Cody Forsythe will make his sixth start of the season in Saturday’s game. He will also become just the sixth pitcher in school history to start 40 games. Over the last two years, he is 9-4 with a 1.54 ERA in 14 conference starts. However, he is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Sycamores. Forsythe lasted seven innings in both of those starts. On Sunday first-year Saluki Derek Fogel will make his fifth start of the year and his first conference start. In his last outing, the lefty tossed seven scoreless innings on Monday against Illinois but took a no-decision as SIU lost in 10 innings.

    HOME RUN NOTES After hitting only three home runs in their first 17 games, the Salukis have hit four home runs in their last three games. Matt Jones and Ryan Rosthenhausler are tied for the team lead with two home runs apiece. They both homered in Tuesday’s game at Eastern Illinois. Jones has now hit one out in two of the last three games. Both of Jones’ homers have been two-run homers. Southern Illinois’ other five longballs have all been solo shots.

    HITTING THE SYCAMORES Austin Montgomery and Wes Neece are the only two active Salukis entering the series with a career batting average of over .250 against Indiana State. Montgomery has hit .355 with three home runs and nine RBI in eight games against the Sycamores. Neece has hit .333 in five career games against ISU.

    HITTING MILESTONES Austin Montgomery is two hits away from his 200th career hit. He is the Salukis’ active hit leader. Jake Welch is one hit away from his 150th career hit, and Nick Johnson is six hits away from his 150th career hit.

    JONES HITTING STREAK Matt Jones enters the game with a 10-game hitting streak, the longest by a Salukis this season. However, Jake Welch began the season with a seven-game hitting streak, which combined with his seven-game streak to end last season to form a 14-game hitting streak. During his current hitting streak, Jones is hitting .350, which is actually lower than his impressive season average of .369. Jones began the season with an eight-game hitting streak and has been held hitless in only two games this season.

    SALUKIS VS. RICK HELLER SIU is 27-16 all-time against Rick Heller-coached teams. The Salukis posted a 24-11 record against Heller’s Northern Iowa teams from 2000-2009 and won the last six meetings against his Panthers. SIU is 3-5 against Heller since he took over at Indiana State in 2010.

    DEFENSIVE NOTES SIU has committed 11 of its 30 errors this season in the last four games. The Salukis’ fielding percentage in the last four games is .936 compared to .968 for the rest of the season.

    HIT BATSMAN Ryan Casillas has been hit by a pitch 10 times this season, which already ties him for sixth most by a Saluki in a single season. If he is hit by another pitch, he will tie Kevin Koski and Jerry Hairston Jr. for fourth most in a single season. The school record is 24, set by Chris Sauritch in 1994.

    LOOKING AHEAD Following the Indiana State series, SIU will be home for five straight games against Ohio Valley Conference foes. On Tuesday the Salukis will face Belmont at 3 p.m. SIU will then host Eastern Kentucky for a three-game series from Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, March 30 before facing Murray State on Tuesday, April 2.

    The Last Meeting
    Indiana State10
    Southern Illinois4
    May 13, 2012
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Indiana State defeats Baseball 10-4 in series finale
    The Salukis (25-26, 9-12 MVC) finished the MVC schedule on a sour note with a loss at home to first place Indiana State (40-12, 13-5 MVC) Sunday afternoon.