Salukis open homestand Friday with Indiana State series

    Jake Welch ranks 22nd in the nation with 26 walks.

    Jake Welch ranks 22nd in the nation with 26 walks.
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    April 10, 2014

    Indiana State Sycamores (21-9, 5-4 MVC) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (17-15, 2-4 MVC)
     Date Friday, April 11 - Sunday, April 13
     Time Fri. - 6:30 p.m., Sat. - 2:00 p.m., Sun. - 1:00 p.m.
     Location Itchy Jones Stadium - Carbondale, Ill. 
     Game 1
    ISU: RHP David Stagg (5-2, 2.50 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Sam Coonrod (0-4, 3.60 ERA)
     Game 2
    ISU: RHP Brad Lombard (6-0, 2.50 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Todd Eaton (2-2, 4.68 ERA) 
     Game 3
    ISU: RHP Kurt Kudrecki (4-3, 3.92 ERA)
    SIU: LHP Aaron Hauge (3-2, 2.58 ERA) 
     Radio Fri. - 105.1 WVZA-FM, Sat. - 1300 WFRX-AM, Sun. - 1300 WFRX-AM
    All games stream live on Salukis All-Access. Mike Reis will call the play-by-play. 
     Video Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Indiana State Get Acrobat ReaderMVC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Indiana State | MVC
     All-Time Series SIU leads, 91-74
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball  | @SIU_Baseball  | Saluki Athletics 

    LEADING OFF Southern Illinois (17-15, 2-4 MVC) will host Missouri Valley Conference Valley foe Indiana State (21-9, 5-4 MVC) for a three-game series beginning on Friday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium. The Salukis will look to break a two-game losing streak and claim their first conference series win of the year.

    FRIDAY’S STARTER Sam Coonrod will make his ninth start of the season and his 34th career start, which will tie him with Kevin Waldrop for the 11th most in school history. The junior is tied for eighth in the MVC with 41 strikeouts. Over his last three starts, he has 22 punchouts in 17.1 innings of work. Coonrod will try to break a personal eight-game losing streak that dates back to April 21, 2013. Over his last six starts, Coonrod is 0-4 with a 3.24 ERA. The Salukis have averaged 2.2 runs per game in those six starts.

    SATURDAY'S STARTERS On Saturday, Todd Eaton will make his ninth start of the season and his 12th career start. It will be his 83rd career appearance, which ranks fourth in school history. In his last outing, Eaton allowed one run off eight hits in 6.0 innings of work against Bradley to earn his second win of the season. He is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two conference starts.

    SUNDAY'S STARTERS On Sunday, Aaron Hauge will make his seventh career start with the Salukis. His 2.58 ERA is tops on the team and ranks 14th in the MVC. He has held opponents to a .239 average, which is 13th-best in the Valley. In his last outing, he allowed four runs off eight hits in 4.2 innings agaisnt Bradley. He took the loss, breaking his personal three-decision winning streak. After taking a 15.2 inning scoreless streak into conference play, Hauge has surrendered seven earned runs in 9.2 innings in two conference starts.

    INDIANA STATE SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 91-74. However, the Salukis have lost their last seven games against Indiana State. The last win came on May 21, 2011. Under Ken Henderson, SIU is 5-8 versus the Sycamores. Since Indiana State joined the MVC in 1977, Southern has won 15 regular season series, lost 12 regular season series and split six times. Prior to 1977, SIU dominated the Sycamores with a 22-3 record in nonconference matchups.

    SCOUTING THE SYCAMORES Indiana State lost at No. 7 Vanderbilt and at No. 23 Indiana earlier this week. Prior to that, ISU had won four-straight games including a sweep of Wichita State last weekend. The Sycamores are fourth in the Valley with a .283 team batting average. Derek Hannahs, Cody Zimmerman and Mike Fitzgerald are all hitting above .325, and Fitzgerald is hitting a team-best .414 in conference play. Indiana State is third in the MVC with a 3.09 team ERA. Saturday’s starter, Brad Lombard, is second in the Valley with six wins this season. In three conference starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA.

    FRESHMAN IMPACT Six Saluki freshman position players have started at least one of SIU’s six conference games this season. Those six first year players are hitting a combined .302 in conference games while the upperclassmen are hitting .266 in conference play. Freshman center fielder Dyllin Mucha leads the team with a .421 conference average, which ranks sixth in the Valley. SIU has used three freshman pitchers in Valley games, and they have combined for a 3.38 ERA in 13.1 innings pitched. Upperclassman pitchers have a combined 6.19 ERA in 32.0 innings pitched in conference.

    GUNNED DOWN On Tuesday against Southeast Missouri State, catcher Matt Jones became the first Saluki to throw out three attempted base stealers in a single game since Brian Bajer did it during the opening weekend of the 2012 season. Jones also picked off a runner with too healthy of a lead at first base in Tuesday’s game.

    ONE-RUN GAMES After losing a 5-4 game on Tuesday at SEMO, the Salukis have now played 16 one-run games, which is more than any other team in the nation. Cal State-Northridge and Hartford are both tied for second with 15. SIU is 9-7 in one-run games, tied for the third most one-run wins in the nation. In addition, SIU has played seven extra-innings games, which is tied with Hartford, UConn and Texas Tech for the most in the nation. The Salukis are 3-4 in extra innings.

    CASILLAS RBI NOTES Ryan Casillas has driven in 18 runs in his last 13 games and ranks third in the MVC with 29 RBIs this season. He is four RBIs behind Wichita State’s Casey Gillaspie for the conference lead and one away from matching his career best of 30 RBIs in 2013. Casillas’ 29 RBIs are more than double anyone else on the team. Matt Jones and Parker Osborne are tied for second with 13 RBIs. Casillas has nine RBIs in six conference games.

    WELCH’S WALKS Jake Welch leads the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks 22nd in the nation with 26 walks on the season. He has drawn 11 walks in his last nine games. Welch is two free passes away from matching his career high of 28, which he set in 2013. Welch’s 96 career walks are tied for eighth most in school history. Only six Salukis have drawn 100 walks in their careers. 

    HOME COOKING SIU has posted a 7-4 record at Itchy Jones Stadium. The Salukis are hitting .308 at home compared to a .250 batting average away from Carbondale. SIU averages 11.0 hits per game at home and has recorded double-digit hits in each of its last eight home games. The pitching staff has also faired slightly better at home, posting a 3.23 ERA compared to a 3.96 ERA on the road.

    LOOKING AHEAD After this weekend, SIU will continue the homestand with a pair of midweek games against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. The Saukis will face UT Martin on Tuesday, April 15 at 5 p.m. The following day, Austin Peay will come to town for a 4:30 p.m. game at Itchy Jones Stadium. Next weekend the Salukis will resume conference play with a three-game series at Wichita State beginning Friday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m.