SIU at Illinois, home versus Belmont in pair of midweek games

    Brad Drust will start Tuesday's game. He threw six shutout innings against the Illini in 2011.

    Brad Drust will start Tuesday's game. He threw six shutout innings against the Illini in 2011.
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    April 29, 2013

    Southern Illinois (20-23, 3-12 MVC) at Illinois (26-13, 8-7 OVC)
    Belmont (30-12, 16-5 OVC) at Southern Illinois (20-23, 3-12 MVC)
     Date Tuesday, April 30 at Illinois; Wednesday, May 1 vs. Belmont
     Time Tuesday - 6:05 p.m., Wednesday - 3 p.m. (All times Central)
     Location Champaign, Ill., Illinois Field (Tuesday)
    Carbondale, Ill. - Abe Martin Field (Wednesday) 
     Probables Tue. - LHP Brad Drust (3-2, 5.16 ERA), SIU at LHP J.D. Nielsen (0-0, 6.75 ERA), ILL 
    Wed. - RHP Jordan Deal (0-0, 3.86 ERA), BEL at TBA, SIU
     Radio Both games on WVZA 105.1-FM and streaming live on Saluki All-Access
     Video Tuesday (pay) | Wednesday: none
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Tuesday | Wednesday
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    LEADING OFF The Salukis will play a pair of nonconference games this week. On Tuesday SIU will face intrastate rival Illinois on the road at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday’s 3 p.m. home game against Belmont will be a makeup of a March 26 contest that was snowed out.

    TUESDAY’S STARTER Brad Drust will make his seventh start of the season and 15th start of his career. He is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts this year. The Salukis are 5-1 in games Drust has started and have notched a victory in each of his last four starts.

    ILLINOIS SERIES NOTES Southern Illinois leads the all-time series 31-25. However, the Salukis have lost five of their last six games against the Illini, including an Illinois three-game sweep earlier this season in Southern Illinois. Two of those three loses came in extra innings. SIU has played Illinois in Champaign in each of the last five seasons and won four of those contests. The Salukis have a three-game winning streak at Illinois Field.

    SCOUTING THE ILLINI Illinois won two out of three games at home against Northwestern this weekend to improve to 8-7 in the Big Ten. The Illini are hitting .304 as a team and are led by Justin Parr, who is among the nation’s leaders with a .431 average. He enters the game with a school-record 27-game hit streak. Illinois has a team ERA of 3.61. J.D. Nielsen will be making his first collegiate start.

    BELMONT SERIES NOTES This will be the second all-time meeting between the two programs. Belmont defeated SIU 14-7 on Feb. 29, 2012 in Nashville. This is the Bruins’ first trip to Carbondale.

    SCOUTING THE BRUINS Belmont took two out of three from Eastern Illinois this weekend and is in third place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 16-5 conference record. The Bruins are hitting .280 as a team and are led by Drew Turner, who is hitting .325. Belmont leads the OVC with a 3.36 ERA and has held opponents to a conference-low .253 average. Freshman Jordan Deal will be making his second collegiate start for the Bruins.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois1(10)
    March 18, 2013
    Marion, Ill.
    SIU falls to Illini 2-1 in 10 innings
    SIU let an eighth-inning lead slip away and lost 2-1 to Illinois in the 10th inning Monday evening at Rent One Park. It was the second straight 10th inning loss for the Salukis (9-10) as Illinois (13-4) completed a three-game sweep.

    RECORD SETTER Cody Forsythe became SIU’s all-time leader in career starts when he made his 45th career start on Friday against Wichita State. The senior captain will have a chance to set another school record in his next outing. Forsythe enters the week having thrown 316 and two-thirds career innings in his Saluki career. That puts him eight innings away from matching the school record of 324 and two-thirds career innings pitched. He is the Valley’s active career leader in both categories.

    NONCONFERENCE WINNING STREAK Southern Illinois has won eight straight nonconference games. That is the longest such streak by the Salukis since SIU won eight consecutive nonconference games from Feb. 17 through March 3, 2007. Southern Illinois won nine straight nonconference games from Feb. 12 through March 3, 2006.

    TOP 10 Austin Montgomery has moved into the Salukis’ career top 10 with 134 career RBIs. That puts him in 10th place, one RBI behind former SIU shortstop and pitcher and current SIU pitching coach P.J. Finigan. With his next double, Montgomery will move into 10th place on SIU’s career list. The senior currently has 45 career two-baggers. 

    LOOKING AHEAD Southern Illinois will be on the road the next two weekends. On Friday, May 3, the Salukis will be in West Lafayette, Ind. for a three-game series against Purdue. The Dawgs will then travel to Bradley the following weekend for their final road conference series of the regular season.