Baseball at home against IPFW for final regular season series

    Senior Jordan Sivertsen will play his final series at Abe Martin Field this weekend. He is second in the MVC with 10 home runs.

    Senior Jordan Sivertsen will play his final series at Abe Martin Field this weekend. He is second in the MVC with 10 home runs.
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    May 16, 2012

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - SIU (25-27) will conclude the regular season with a three-game series at home against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (16-37). The series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 3 p.m. at Abe Martin Field. SIU is looking to snap a seven-game losing streak and will honor the team’s four seniors at Saturday’s game.

    Date: Thursday, May 17-Saturday, May 19
    Time: Thursday - 3 p.m., Friday - 3 p.m., Saturday - 1 p.m.
    Location: Carbondale, Ill.
    Site: Abe Martin Field
    Probable Starters:
       Thursday: RHP Chuck Weaver, IPFW (4-6, 3.97) vs. LHP Cody Forsythe, SIU (3-4, 2.98)
       Friday: LHP Jason Kalber, IPFW (4-9, 7.53) vs. LHP Nathan Dorris (6-4, 4.50)
       Saturday: RHP Travis Reboulet, IPFW (0-7, 7.05) vs. RHP Sam Coonrod, SIU (2-5, 5.43)
    Radio: WFRX 1300-AM and streaming live on Game Central
    Video: Thursday and Friday's games will be streaming live on Game Central

    Game Notes

    THURSDAY’S STARTER Cody Forsythe will make his 14th and final regular season start of 2012. He has been SIU’s most consistent starter all season, although that has not translated to as many wins as he deserves. Forsythe has taken the loss in each of his last three starts despite posting a 1.93 ERA during that stretch. His 2.98 ERA ranks 11th best in the MVC, and his 87 and two-thirds innings pitched is fifth most in The Valley. Forsythe enters the series with 62 strikeouts, seven shy of a career high he set in 2011.

    IPFW SERIES NOTES This weekend will mark the first meeting between the two programs. The IPFW baseball program dates back to 1970, and the Mastodons are playing in their 10th season of Division I baseball. This will be the third time in 2012 that SIU plays a team for the first time in school history. The Salukis other two first time opponents this season were Belmont and Georgia State.

    SCOUTING THE MASTODONS IPFW lost three out of four games last weekend against Oral Roberts and has dropped six of its last eight games to fall to 16-37 overall. This will be the Mastodons final series of the season. They finished fifth in the Summit League with a conference record of 8-16, and only the top five teams qualify for the conference tournament. The Dons are hitting .235, last in the Summit League. Shortstop Clay Hathaway leads the team with a .277 average. Left fielder Carter DeBoe is the biggest power threat with eight home runs, 14 doubles and 40 RBI. He also has 18 stolen bases. The pitching staff has also struggled with a 6.81 ERA, which ranks sixth out of seven teams in the conference. IPFW pitchers have issued 286 walks in 432 and a third innings, which as of Monday was the second highest walk total among Division I teams.

    CONFERENCE SEEDING After completing its conference schedule last weekend with a record of 9-12, SIU can do no worse than the sixth seed in the MVC Tournament. The only way the Salukis can move up to the fifth seed is if this weekend’s Evansville versus Illinois State series results in a sweep. In that case, SIU would leapfrog the team that is swept. FIRST ROUND OPPONENT In the first round of the MVC Tournament, the sixth seed will play the third seed, and the fifth seed will play the fourth seed. Wichita State enters the weekend in third place but is joined by Missouri State, Evansville and Illinois State on the list of teams that could possibly finish third. Evansville and Illinois State begin the weekend tied for fourth place and play each other in Evansville this weekend.

    SERRITELLA’S STREAK Chris Serritella has a hit in 26 of his last 27 games and enters the weekend with an 18-game hitting streak, the longest by anyone in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. He has hit .411 during the hitting streak to raise his season average to .393. With a 36 point lead in the batting race, Serritella will most likely become the first SIU player to win the MVC batting title since P.J. Finigan hit .388 in 2005 and has a chance to be the first Saluki to hit .400 since Braden Gibbs hit .412 in 1994.

    BAJER'S BAT Catcher Brian Bajer has started 10 of SIU’s last 11 games. During that stretch, he is hitting .400 (12-for-30) to raise his average to .262. With three regular season games left plus the MVC Tournament, he is seven hits away from 100 in his SIU career.

    LOSING THE BATS During SIU’s current seven-game losing streak, the Salukis pitching staff has an ERA of 4.65, which is actually lower than the team’s 4.80 overall ERA. However, the potent SIU offense has been held to a .235 batting average during that time. During the losing streak, SIU’s team batting average has dropped from .296 to .288.

    MALDONADO UPDATE Cameron Maldonado will be available out of the Saluki bullpen for short relief on Friday or Saturday. Maldonado has made 12 starts for the Salukis this season but has not appeared in a game since leaving his start with shoulder pain on May 5 at Illinois State. Maldonado has pitched in 27 games, all of them starts, for SIU over the past two seasons.

    DOUBLE VISION SIU hitters lead the MVC with 110 doubles this season. That is tied for seventh most in school history. This year’s team is one two-bagger away from being tied for fourth most in school history and three doubles away from third most in a season. The school record is 125 doubles, set in 1990. Chris Serritella leads The Valley with 21 doubles and is two doubles away from tying the school’s single season record. Jordan Sivertsen and Austin Montgomery are both tied for fifth in the league with 15 doubles.

    HISTORIC SEASON With seven games left in the regular season, Chris Serritella is approaching multiple SIU single season offensive records. He has 81 hits, two shy of cracking the school’s top 10 and 11 away from matching Kevin Koski’s school record of 92, set in 2005. Serritella had 83 hits in 2010. The slugging first baseman’s 137 total bases in 2012 are fifth most in a single season in school history. The school record is 147, accomplished by Robert Jones and Gerry Pitchford, both in 1986. Serritella had 143 total bases in 2010, third most in school history.

    FRIDAY/SATURDAY STARTERS Nathan Dorris will start Friday for SIU. In his last start, he allowed seven runs in six innings of work and took the loss. However, only one of those runs was earned, as he allowed six unearned runs in the second inning. In his last four starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 25 and a third innings pitched. On Saturday Sam Coonrod is scheduled to make his ninth start of the season. In his last outing, he allowed four runs off six hits in five innings of work against Indiana State. He struck out six batters, one shy of matching his personal best. Coonrod has done some of his best work in non-conference games this season. In three non-conference starts, he has posted a 3.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 16 innings of work. Including six relief appearances, he has a 2.16 ERA in nine non-conference games.

    DEFENSIVE TROUBLES Over the past two weeks, SIU has struggled defensively. The Salukis have committed 13 errors in their last six games, which has led to 16 unearned runs. In their previous 21 games, the Dawgs had committed 23 errors, which is in line with the MVC average of about one error per game.

    LOOKING AHEAD The Salukis will have Sunday and Monday off to travel to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 22 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.