Salukis host MVC-leading Evansville this weekend

    Matt Jones is hitting .357 over his last seven games.

    Matt Jones is hitting .357 over his last seven games.
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    May 1, 2014

    Evansville Purple Aces (28-15, 9-3 MVC) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (21-24, 3-12 MVC)
     Date Friday, May 2 - Sunday, May 4
     Time (CT) Fri. - 6:30 p.m., Sat. - 4:00 p.m., Sun. - 1:00 p.m.
     Location Itchy Jones Stadium - Carbondale, Ill. 
     Game 1
    UE: LHP Kyle Freeland (8-1, 1.88 ERA)
    ILS: RHP Sam Coonrod (0-5, 3.60 ERA)
     Game 2
    UE: RHP Coonor Strain (3-3, 3.40 ERA)
    SIU: RHP Todd Eaton (2-2, 3.75 ERA) 
     Game 3
    UE: LHP Cole Isom (4-4, 3.79 ERA)
    SIU: LHP Aaron Hauge (3-3, 3.47 ERA) 
     Radio Fri. - 105.1 WVZA-FM, Sat. - 105.1 WVZA-FM, Sun. - 1300 WFRX-AM
    All games stream live on Salukis All-Access. Mike Reis will call the play-by-play. 
     Video Salukis All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Evansville Get Acrobat ReaderMVC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Evansville | MVC
     All-Time Series SIU leads, 94-58
     Social Media @SIU_Baseball  | @SIU_Baseball  | Saluki Athletics 

    LEADING OFF Southern Illinois will host Missouri Valley Conference leader Evansville for a three-game series beginning Friday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Itchy Jones Stadium. It will be the final home conference series of the season for the Salukis. 

    FRIDAY'S STARTER Sam Coonrod will make his 12th start of the season and his 37th career start, which will tie him with Scott Waltemate for seventh place in school history. The junior is 0-3 with a 3.73 ERA in five conference starts this season. He will look to snap a personal nine-game losing streak. In his last outing, Coonrod allowed two runs off seven hits and struck out six in 7.0 innings at Illinois State. He averages 8.85 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranks seventh in the MVC.

    SATURDAY'S STARTER Todd Eaton will make his 12th start of the season and his 15th career start. It will be his 86th career appearance, which ranks fourth in school history. It will be his first start against Evansville. In his career againt the Aces, he has allowed one earned run in 3.2 innings over three appearances. Eaton is the reigning MVC Pitcher of the Week after holding Illinois State to four hits and one run in 10.0 innings last week. The senior is tied for second in the Valley with 74.1 innings pitched this season. That is 8.2 more innings than he threw in the last two seasons combined as SIU's closer.

    SUNDAY'S STARTER Aaron Hauge will make his 10th career start with the Salukis. Last week he had his best conference start. The junior allowed one run off three hits in 6.1 innings of work on the road against Illinois State. He left in line for the win, but the Salukis lost 4-3. After taking a 15.2 inning scoreless streak into conference play, Hauge is 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in five conference starts. Hauge is 3-1 with a 1.26 ERA in five nonconference starts.

    EVANSVILLE SERIES NOTES SIU leads the all-time series, 94-58, and has won five of the last six regular season series against the Aces. Ken Henderson is 6-5 all-time as head coach against UE and has won three of his four games in Carbondale against the Aces. SIU lost two out of three games at Evansville last year but has won each of its last three home series against UE. The rivalry dates back to 1947, and the two teams have met annually since 1983.

    SCOUTING THE PURPLE ACES Evansville had its four-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday with a loss to Division II Southern Indiana. However, the Aces enter the series atop the MVC standings. Evansville leads the Valley with a .288 batting average and a .386 on-base percentage but has only hit 13 home runs in 43 games. Kevin Kaczmarski is second in the conference with a .422 average in MVC games, and Jake Mahon is fourth with a .378 conference average. The Aces are seventh in the eight-team conference with a 4.19 team ERA. However, Friday starter Kyle Freeland has won each of his last seven starts, and is third in the nation with 97 strikeouts on the year.

    EXTRA! EXTRA! SIU played two more extra-inning games this past weekend at Illinois State and still 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. 

    QUALITY STARTERS Last weekend, SIU starting pitchers Sam Coonrod, Todd Eaton and Aaron Hauge combined to average 7.2 innings per start with a 1.54 ERA and a .165 opposing batting average. Each starter tossed at least 6.1 innings, and none of them allowed more than two runs. 

    KEEPING UP WITH JONES Saluki catcher Matt Jones enters the weekend with a seven-game hitting streak, one shy of his season-best. He is hitting .357 during the streak to raise his average from .234 to .259. Jones has multiple hits in three of his last seven games.

    SO CLOSE Seven of SIU's 12 conference losses have been one run games. Four of those seven one-run games were extra-inning games. The Salukis are 1-7 in one-run conference games and 9-5 in one-run nonconference games. 

    GLAD TO BE HOME SIU opens a six-game homestand this weekend. Six of SIU's last seven games have been on the road. Southern Illinois has lost a season-worst eight-straight road games and 14 of it's last 15 road contests. This is after the Salukis started the season 4-2 on the road. Meanwhile, at home, the Dawgs have won three in a row and four of their last six. The Salukis are 11-6 at Itchy Jones Stadium.

    WELCH'S WALKS Senior Saluki shortstop Jake Welch is second in the MVC and is tied for 17th in the nation with 34 walks. However, he has not drawn a walk in his last four games. Welch enters the weekend with 104 career free passes, third most in school history.

    KEEPING UP APPEARANCES Five current members of the Saluki pitching staff are on the top 10 list for most appearances in school history. Closer Tyler Dray is the active leader with 92 career appearances. That ranks third in SIU history. Eaton is fourth on the list with 85 appearances while Matt Murphy, Aaron Snyder and Lee Weld rank fifth, seventh and 10th, respectively. Dray, Murphy and Weld are each tied for third most appearances on the team this season with 15.

    TEAM HITS LEADER Ryan Casillas leads the team with 57 hits. That ranks third in the Valley behind Casey Gillaspie (66) and Paul DeJong (63). Casillas is one hit away from matching his hit total from 2013. After hitting eight doubles and two home runs in 2013, he has already doubled those totals with 16 doubles and five home runs this season.

    LOOKING AHEAD After this weekend, SIU will take a midweek break for final exams. Next weekend, the Salukis will play their final three home games of the season when they host Mississippi Valley State for a three-game series beginning Friday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois13
    April 7, 2013
    Evansville, Ind.
    Salukis crush Evansville, 13-5, in series finale
    Southern Illinois' offense erupted for 20 hits as SIU cruised to a 13-5 victory Sunday afternoon at Braun Stadium. The 13 runs marked a season high, and the 20 hits were the most by SIU since 2011.