By: Joe Frye
There are thousands of baseball recaps that exist that begin with “In baseball, its the little things that are most important.” This is not going to be very different because, guess what? It was in fact the little things in baseball that hurt the SIU Salukis in their 9-5 loss to Ohio Valley Conference foe, Jacksonville State. The now 18-7 Gamecocks took advantage of walks and early errors to jump out to a first inning lead and never look back. The senior leadership of Jacksonville State overwhelmed the young Dawgs for another home loss. After seesawing through the first four innings the biggest momentum swing happened in the top of the fifth, where the smallest decision changed the landscape at “The Itch.”
After a rocky fourth inning, junior Saluki ace Joey Marciano had a bunt land in front of him by senior leadoff pest Gavin Golsan. With Golsan flying down the first base line, instead of throwing the ball to first with any force, Marciano, last minute, decided to underhand toss the ball to the first baseman, sophomore Logan Blackfan. Golden was safe by a step, and then, like clockwork, the baseball Gods showed up from the skies above Itchy Jones Stadium and started driving the ship. Two batters later Gamecock slugger Paschal Petronoglo, a senior, slugged a two run homer, making the score 5-3. Petro was the gas in the Jacksonville State vehicle as he led the Gamecocks with 3 rbi’s including another solo homer in the eighth as he and fellow senior Tyler Gamble went back-to-back that eventually sent Marciano to the dugout. The Gamecocks tallied nine hits and five walks including a two double day for senior outfielder Elliot Cummings.
For the Dawgs the biggest head-scratcher was the tough day by the middle of their lineup. Junior Jake Hand and Blackfan combined for an 0-8 afternoon. Five separate Salukis grabbed rbi’s, including junior Dyllin Mucha who had himself a two-hit day with a single and double while driving in a run. Marciano gutted out a 7 1/3 innings performance accompanied by four strikeouts, and only two walks. He moves to 2-3 on the year. Redshirt junior Anthony Shimkus and junior Austin McPherson came in and finished off the rest of the eighth and ninth inning. With this loss the Salukis fall to 15-10, and will try to bounce back with game two tomorrow, during this three game homestead.