Salukis head to Creighton for three-game weekend series

    Cody Forsythe is scheduled to match a school record on Friday with his 44th career start.

    Cody Forsythe is scheduled to match a school record on Friday with his 44th career start.
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    April 18, 2013

    Southern Illinois (18-18, 2-7 MVC) vs. Creighton (19-9, 5-4 MVC)
     Date Friday, April 19-Sunday, April 21
     Time Fri. - 6:30 p.m., Sat. - 2 p.m., Sun. - 4 p.m. (All times Central)
     Location TD Ameritrade Park - Omaha, Neb. 
     Probables Fri. - LHP Cody Forsythe (1-2, 2.79 ERA) vs. RHP Tommy Strunc (4-1, 3.68 ERA)
    Sat. - LHP Derek Fogel (0-1, 2.95 ERA) vs. Nick Musec (0-4, 5.70 ERA)
    Sun. - RHP Sam Coonrod (2-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. Austin Groth (2-0, 4.72 ERA)
     Radio Friday, Sunday - WVZA 105.1-FM; Saturday - WFRX 1300-AM.
    All three games streaming live on Saluki All-Access
     Video Friday - None, Saturday -, Sunday - ESPNU &
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Friday | Saturday | Sunday
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    LEADING OFF The Southern Illinois baseball team will look to move its season record back over .500 as it makes its final conference trip to Creighton for a three-game series beginning Friday, April 19. It will be a rematch of last year’s MVC Tournament championship game, and Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPNU.

    FRIDAY’S STARTER Lefty Cody Forsythe will make his 10th start of the year and tie the school record by making his 44th career start. In his last outing, Forsythe allowed five runs in six and two thirds innings in a 7-3 loss to Missouri State. It matched the highest amount of runs he’s allowed in a conference start in his career. The senior is ninth in the league with a 2.79 season ERA. With two and a third innings of work in Friday’s game, he will match Mike Van Gilder for the second most innings pitched in an SIU career.

    CREIGHTON SERIES NOTES SIU leads the all-time series 63-57 and swept the Bluejays in Carbondale last season before losing to Creighton in the championship game of the MVC Tournament by an 8-6 score. Southern Illinois is 15-32 all-time in regular season road games against Creighton. However, the Salukis are 2-2 all-time against the Jays at TD Ameritrade Park. SIU has won six of its last nine games against the Jays. Over the years, the two schools have been evenly matched with the Salukis winning 12 regular season series, the Jays claiming 14 regular season series and three splits.

    SCOUTING THE BLUEJAYS After getting swept at Indiana State last weekend, Creighton bounced back for a 12-4 win at home over Kansas on Tuesday. Creighton is second in the MVC with a .297 batting average and boasts three of the conference’s top six hitters. Jake Peter is third in the Valley with a .374 average, just ahead of Kevin Lamb who is hitting .371. Reagan Fowler is hitting .357. Creighton is fifth in the conference with a 4.04 ERA. Friday’s starter Tommy Strunc is third in the leauge in opponents batting average at .190.

    EATON’S SAVES After notching a save in each of SIU’s last two games, Todd Eaton is now tied for the MVC lead with six saves on the season. He has also moved into third place on SIU’s career list with 16 saves. He enters the weekend three saves behind former Anaheim Angel Al Levine, who is second on SIU’s career list with 19 saves.

    OFFENSIVE SURGE SIU has won five of its last seven games. During that stretch, the Salukis are averaging just over 10 runs and 15 hits per game. Southern Illinois is now leading the conference in doubles with 71. The Salukis are second in the MVC in hits (357), RBIs (190), home runs (17),  and total bases (485).

    SATURDAY, SUNDAY STARTERS On Saturday, Derek Fogel will make his ninth start of the season. He is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four road starts this season. In his last outing, he allowed five runs, three of them earned, in one and a third innings. It was the first time this season he did not last five innings. Prior to his last start, the junior had posted a 1.40 ERA in his previous four starts. Sam Coonrod will make his 10th start of the season on Sunday. In his last outing, he allowed four runs in the first inning then rebounded to toss five scoreless innings and pick up his fifth win of the year. In his last three outings, he is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA.

    STOLEN WELCH Jake Welch is seven-for-seven in stolen base attempts over the past seven games. He enters the weekend with 14 stolen bases on the year, the third highest total in the conference. Since the start of the 2012 season, Welch is 30-for-34 in stolen base attempts.

    MONTGOMERY’S HOT STREAK Over the last seven games, Austin Montgomery is hitting 18-for-32 (.563) with three home runs and 14 RBIs. During that stretch he has raised his season average from .284 to .348 to move into eighth place in the conference batting race.

    INSIDE THE NUMBERS Despite its 2-7 conference record, SIU has a higher batting average and lower ERA than its opponents in conference play. The Salukis are hitting .274 compared to their opponents who are hitting .273 in MVC games. SIU pitchers have posted a 3.94 ERA in conference games while their opponents have put together a 4.23 ERA in conference play. However, SIU has committed 17 errors in nine conference games, which has led to 21 unearned runs.

    BACK TO EVEN With Tuesday’s win over UT Martin, SIU evened its season mark at 18-18. The Salukis will try to climb back over .500 for the first time since they were 9-8 on March 15. The high water mark for the season is two games over, which the Salukis have done three times.

    EARLY ATTACK Southern Illinois has scored in the first inning in nine of its last 11 games. However, SIU’s opponent has also scored in the first inning in five of the last six games. In the two games in the recent stretch in which the Salukis didn’t score in the first inning, SIU managed to score in the second or third inning. The Salukis are 7-4 in their last 11 games.

    CASILLAS CONSISTENCY Following Tuesday’s game, first baseman Ryan Casillas has reached base safely in 24 consecutive games, which is among the longest streaks in the nation. That is the longest such streak by a Saluki hitter since Chris Serritella reached safely in 24 straight games in 2012. Serritella also had a streak of 28 games reaching base safely in 2010. The last game in which Casillas didn’t reach base safely was March 6. Since then he has steadily raised his average from .250 to .313.

    LOOKING AHEAD Following the Creighton series, SIU will return to Carbondale for a four-game homestand. On Tuesday, April 23 the Salukis will face Southeast Missouri State. The Dawgs will then host Wichita State for a three-game series beginning Friday, April 26.