SIU opens MVC Tournament Tuesday against Wichita State

    Austin Montgomery was named to the All-MVC Second Team on Monday.

    Austin Montgomery was named to the All-MVC Second Team on Monday.
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    May 20, 2013

    Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
    Southern Illinois (24-31, 6-15 MVC) vs. Wichita State (34-25, 15-6 MVC)

     Date Tuesday, May 21
     Time 12:37 p.m. CT
     Location Normal, Ill. - Duffy Bass Field 
     Probables LHP Cody Forsythe (3-5, 3.23 ERA) vs. RHP Cale Elam (6-3, 2.40 ERA)
     Radio WFRX 1300-AM and streaming live on Saluki All-Access
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     Social Media @SIU_Baseball

    LEADING OFF The Salukis will face Wichita State on Tuesday, May 21 at 12:37 p.m. in the first round of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Tournament. The tournament is hosted by Illinois State at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.

    TUESDAY’S STARTER Cody Forsythe will make his 15th start of the season and his 49th career start. The senior captain is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in five career starts against WSU. He posted a 2-3 record with a 2.79 ERA in seven conference starts this season. SIU’s career leader in starts and innings pitched is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in four career MVC Tournament appearances. However, he has won his last two starts against the Shockers, including last season’s opening round defeat of Wichita State in the MVC Tournament.

    WICHITA STATE SERIES NOTES Wichita State leads the all-time series, 94-34, and took two of three games from the Salukis in Carbondale earlier this season. This will be the 27th meeting between the two teams in the MVC Tournament, and 20 of those 26 matchups were played in Wichita. SIU is 7-19 against the Shockers in the tournament and 2-3 against Wichita State at neutral sites in the MVC Tournament.

    SCOUTING THE SHOCKERS Wichita State finished the regular season with a sweep of Northwestern. The Shockers finished second in the MVC with a 15-6 conference mark. Their .289 team batting average ranks third in the conference. WSU also leads the league in hits (590), total bases (765) and stolen bases (83). Garrett Bayliff leads the team with a .381 batting average, which ranks second in the Valley. Casey Gillaspie leads the conference with nine home runs. The Shockers are second in the MVC with a 3.39 team ERA. Starter Cale Elam is fifth in the league with a 2.40 ERA and a 2.05 ERA in conference games.

    ALL-MVC HONORS Five Salukis earned 2013 All-Missouri Valley Conference honors, the conference announced Monday. Utility player Austin Montgomery, starting pitcher Cody Forsythe and relief pitcher Todd Eaton were selected to the second team. Second baseman Jake Welch and relief pitcher Tyler Dray each earned an honorable mention. It is the third All-Conference honor for Montgomery and Forsythe and the second for Eaton.

    SIU IN THE VALLEY TOURNEY Donny Duschinsky is SIU’s active leader with a .375 batting average in four career Missouri Valley Conference Tournament games. He is also the only member of the current roster who has hit a home run in a Valley Tournament game. Wes Neece and Austin Montgomery are second and third among active Salukis in the MVC Tourney with a .308 average and a .306 batting average, respectively. Nick Johnson is SIU’s active leader with four RBI in five career games in the conference tournament.

    WEDNESDAY'S STARTER On Wednesday, Sam Coonrod will make his 15th start of the season and his second career start in the MVC Tournament. In his last outing, he allowed two runs, one of them earned, in six innings against Illinois State. After allowing two runs in the first, he tossed five scoreless innings. This season, he allowed five runs in six and a third innings at Indiana State and allowed four runs in an inning and two-thirds at Creighton.

    FIRST-ROUND REMATCH SIU’s first-round game against Wichita State will mark the 10th time in the last 10 years that the Salukis face the Shockers in the MVC Tournament and the second consecutive year that the two teams open the tournament against one another. Southern Illinois’ first round defeat of Wichita State in the 2012 tournament broke a six-game conference tournament losing streak against the Shockers.

    250 CAREER HITS With his next hit, Austin Montgomery will become the ninth player in school history to record 250 hits in his Saluki career. He is also two hits away from tying current SIU pitching coach P.J. Finigan for eighth on the SIU career list.

    CONFERENCE HITTERS SIU has four of the top 15 hitters in the league in conference games. Wes Neece leads the team with a .345 average in MVC games, followed by Jake Welch who is hitting .333 in league play. Cody Daily is hitting .329, and Ryan Casillas is a .325 hitter in conference games.

    WELCH STOLEN BASE NOTES With his stolen base in Friday’s game against Illinois State, Jake Welch became the first Saluki to swipe 20 bases in a season since Joe Schley had 23 stolen bases in 1999. The junior is 36-for-42 in stolen base attempts over the last two seasons.

    EATON ON SAVES LIST Todd Eaton enters the tournament with 19 career saves, tied with Al Levine for second most in school history. His next save will also surpass his career high of nine, which he accomplished in 2012. Eaton earned one save and two wins in the 2012 MVC Tournament, during which he tossed eight innings without allowing an earned run.

    LOOKING AHEAD If SIU wins on Tuesday, it will play at 4 p.m. on Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday morning’s game between Creighton and Indiana State. If the Salukis lose Tuesday’s game, they will play Wednesday at 9 a.m. against the loser of Creighton and Indiana State game.