SIU tries for season series win Tuesday at Illinois

    Austin McPheron will try to stretch his personal winning streak to three games.

    Austin McPheron will try to stretch his personal winning streak to three games.
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    April 28, 2014

    Southern Illinois Salukis (21-23, 3-12 MVC) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (23-17, 10-5 Big Ten)
     Date Tue., April 29
     Time 6 p.m.
     Location Illinois Field - Champaign, Ill. 
    SIU: RHP Austin McPheron (3-1, 1.95 ERA)
    ILL: LHP Rob McDonnel (3-0, 4.50 ERA)
     Radio 105.1 WVZA-FM and streaming live on Salukis All-Access.
    Mike Reis will call the play-by-play. 
     Video None
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Illinois Get Acrobat ReaderMVC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Gametracker
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Illinois | MVC
     All-Time Series Overall: SIU leads, 34-30. At Illinois: SIU leads, 14-10.
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball  | @SIU_Baseball  | Saluki Athletics 

    LEADING OFF Southern Illinois will look to finish off its first season series win against the University of Illinois since 2011 when the Salukis visit the Fighting Illini on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

    TUESDAY’S STARTER Austin McPheron will make his fifth start of the season. The freshman has picked up a win in each of his last two starts. Over those last two starts, he has allowed a total of six hits and one earned run in 12.0 innings of work. McPheron is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in four starts this season. He began the season in the bullpen and did not allow an earned run in 8.0 innings spread over seven relief appearances.

    ILLINOIS SERIES NOTES SIU leads the all-time series, 34-30, and holds a 14-10 advantage in games played at Illinois. The Salukis took two out of three from the Illini earlier this season  as the Salukis swept a doubleheader at Itchy Jones Stadium on March 15 to break a five-game losing streak against Illinois. Ken Henderson is 6-8 as a head coach against Illinois. The two teams have met annually since 2007, and this will be the seventh year in a row SIU plays at Illinois. The Salukis have won three of their last four games at Illinois Field.

    SCOUTING THE FIGHTING ILLINI Illinois lost two out of three games at home against Big Ten leader No. 24 Indiana this past weekend and is now tied for second place in the conference with Nebraska. Illinois is fifth in the Big Ten with a .275 team batting average. Sophomore catcher Jason Goldstein leads the club with a .338 average. The Illini rank second in the conference with 163 walks and have the league’s second-least amount of strikeouts with 202. Illinois is third in the Big Ten with a 3.28 ERA. It will be a staff day for the Illini, but Rob McDonnell will make his fifth start of the season.

    EATON NAMED MVC PITCHER OF THE WEEK Senior starter Todd Eaton was named the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday. On Saturday, Eaton held Illinois State to four hits in 10 innings of work, as he became the first pitcher in the MVC since 2011 to throw 10 complete innings in a single outing. Facing a Redbirds offense that began the weekend tied for the league lead in batting average, the former Saluki closer retired the first 11 batters he faced and 22 of the first 24 batters.  On the day, Eaton threw six perfect innings and retired 30 of the 36 batters he faced. This is the first MVC Pitcher of the Week nod for Eaton and the first for a Saluki pitcher this season.

    QUALITY STARTERS In the past week, SIU starting pitchers tossed four quality starts in four games. The quartet of Sam Coonrod, Todd Eaton, Aaron Hauge and Austin McPheron averaged 7.1 innings per start and combined for a 1.53 ERA and a .167 opposing batting average over the week. Each starter tossed at least 6.0 innings, and none of them allowed more than two earned runs.

    EXTRA! EXTRA! SIU played two more extra-inning games this past weekend at Illinois State and now leads the nation with 11 extra-inning games this season. Valley teams have played a total of 26 extra-inning games this year, and Southern Illinois has accounted for 11 of those. The Salukis have also taken part in six of the seven extra-inning games played in MVC league games this season.

    LOOKING AHEAD Southern Illinois will open a six-game homestand with a three-game series against MVC leader Evansville beginning Friday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. After taking a midweek break for final exams, the Salukis will host Mississippi Valley State for a three-game nonconference series beginning Friday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m.