The Salukis did something they haven’t done all season twice this weekend: go an entire game without making an error.
SIU (18-14, 5-4 Missouri Valley Conference) has gone two straight games without making an error after its 6-2 error-free loss Sunday to Evansville (20-12, 4-5 MVC). The loss for the Salukis was the only one Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as SIU took two of three.
“We’ve played well on defense. Not only did we not have any errors, but we’ve made some good plays,” coach Ken Henderson said. “It was a good day. Sometimes you play well and you just don’t win.”
Friday and Saturday were an offensive onslaught as SIU scored 20 runs in the team’s first two wins of the series. In Friday’s 9-1 victory against Evansville, the Salukis slammed Evansville sophomore left-hander Cole Isom (1-4) for seven earned runs off 10 hits in four innings pitched.
Saluki senior left fielder Jordan Sivertsen had a game-high four hits and three RBIs, while Saluki junior left-hander Cody Forsythe (2-1) recorded the victory and gave up one earned run on five hits over seven innings.
SIU used a nine-run third inning to catapult past Evansville on Saturday for a final score of 11-6. For the second straight game, the Salukis knocked Evansville’s starting pitcher out of the game early, with Purple Aces junior right-hander Sam Johns (1-2) only lasting two and two-third innings. He gave up eight earned runs off nine hits.
Cameron Maldonado gave up four earned runs off seven hits to remain undefeated (5-0).
“Our pitching staff did pretty well overall,” senior catcher Brian Bajer said. “Cody and Cam, they threw excellent. We usually get pretty damn good outings out of them.”
The Salukis had their chances Sunday against Evansville but couldn’t capitalize as they left seven runners on base. With the score 4-0 in the bottom of the third, the Salukis loaded the bases with two outs, but Saluki junior first baseman Chris Serritella flew out to center to end the inning.
“He was sitting 2-0, and he’s the guy you want up,” Henderson said. “But he’s not Superman. He’s not going to do it every time.”
Sivertsen hit his eighth home run, a shot to left-center field off the first pitch of the inning from Evansville freshman left-hander Kyle Freeland, in the seventh inning. Sivertsen had eight RBIs and two home runs over the weekend.
“I’m just hitting mistakes. You’ve got to make sure you hit mistakes,” Sivertsen said. “The one I hit (Sunday) was right down the middle.”
Sam Coonrod (1-2) made his first weekend start but only lasted four and a third innings in a losing effort. He gave up five earned runs off 10 hits, but the freshman right-hander also allowed four stolen bases. Opponents have attempted a conference-high 69 steals against the Salukis this season.
“Early on in the season, we weren’t really holding on runners as well as we could,” Bajer said. “(Sunday), to be honest, I thought we held on to runners alright. We were quick enough to the plate where we could’ve thrown guys out, but they got pretty good jumps on us.”
Coonrod started in place of Saluki junior left-hander Nathan Dorris, who struggled in his last three starts. Dorris didn’t make an appearance out of the bullpen this weekend, and Henderson said he’ll start Tuesday at Southeast Missouri University.