By: Joe Frye
After a 9-5 loss on Friday and an offensive explosion leading to a 13-3 win on Saturday, a betting man would only expect for another shootout on Sunday. But a betting man wouldn’t haver been aware of sophomore Michael Baird, who could be considered SIU’s ace now. His strong 7 1/3 inning performance led to a 3-2 victory over the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. It wasn’t a dominant lights out performance full of strikeouts for Baird but a lot of ground balls, limiting damage in the sixth inning where Jacksonville State their only two runs and a huge double play to end the seventh inning where the Gamecocks were threatening with men on base. Baird moves to 5-1 on the year and still owns an era south of 2.00, this stat could put him into consideration for the title of “ace of the staff.”
As for the Saluki bats, all the damage was done in the third inning. Junior and WIDB member Will Farmer led off the inning with a single and later junior Dyllin Mucha singled as well. That set up a huge chance for junior Jake Hand to put the Dawgs on the board, and he came through with an opposite field triple. Hand would later score on an rbi single from sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan, and that would do it for the Dawgs on the scoreboard. Hand and Blackfan combined for an 0-8 day on Friday, so a comeback game for them is a good sign for the Salukis as they march on the rest of the season.
The Gamecocks showed this weekend what a senior-led high powered offense can do. But Baird was just too much to handle on Sunday. Both Gamecock runs were scored in the sixth inning, sophomore Clayton Daniel drove in one run with a double and then later senior Tyler Gamble drove Daniel in with an rbi single. The Gamecocks hit into two later double plays, which have been a common occurrence for the Saluki defense who lead the MVC in double plays turned. A huge double play got the first two outs in the seventh inning, an inning where Baird looked to be in early trouble. And Itchy Jones was full of fist pumps as the game ended on a 4-6-3 double play. Sophomore Ryan Nettemeyer came in relief in the eight inning and got the final five outs.
The Dawgs now move to 17-10 on the year and will face the Belmont Bruins on Tuesday in a non conference match-up. You can listen to that broadcast on WIDB.net the Revolution, Daniel Hartmann and Jeremy Sneed will be on the call at 5 o clock with pregame at 4:50.