CARBONDALE -- The Southern Illinois baseball bullpen led the Salukis to a 4-1 win over Southeast Missouri on Wednesday afternoon at Itchy Jones Stadium. Five SIU pitchers combined to face just four over the minimum and retired 21-straight Redhawks at one point.
"It was, by far, our most complete game of the year," SIU head coach Ken Henderson said. "We did everything well."
Freshman righty Matthew Steidl was outstanding in his first career start. SEMO's two-out first-inning single was the only batter to reach against Steidl. After that single, Steidl and Noah Farmer (3.0 IP), Justin Yeager (1.0 IP), and Sam Grace combined to retire 21-consecutive SEMO batters. Southeast's (10-7) lone run came on a walk and two-out single in the ninth inning.
With a strong wind blowing straight in from center field, SIU (10-5) manufactured its runs with timely hitting. J.T. Weber led off the third inning with a double, and Grey Epps drove him home with another double. In the fourth inning, Will LaRue opened up the inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Walters. Alex Lyon put a bunt down and went to second when SEMO threw the ball away; he stole third, and Philip Archer's sac fly scored that run.
"On a day like this, you're probably not going to have big innings, but you can scratch and claw," Henderson said. "Every time we had an opportunity to score, we scored. We executed. We hit a couple sac flies. Again, our speed and aggressiveness on the bases helped us get a couple runs. It was a complete game."
That was more than enough offense for SIU's pitching staff, which did not issue a walk until the eighth inning. SIU's staff has held its opponent to one run in six of the last 11 games.
"These are as tough of hitting conditions as you will find: The wind is blowing straight in at 15-25 miles per hour," Henderson said. "The one thing you have to do on those days is make the other team earn things. You do that by throwing strikes. What a phenomenal job by our bullpen guys."
Will LaRue walked in the eighth inning and went first-to-third on a Walters single. LaRue scored on a wild pitch to give SIU an insurance run and save closer Trey McDaniel, who had picked up his MVC-leading fifth save of the season in yesterday's 3-2 win over Austin Peay. Corey Mitson secured the win over SEMO in the ninth.
Southern Illinois has won nine of its last 11 games and improved to 7-1 at Itchy Jones Stadium this year. The Salukis travel to No. 29 Illinois for a three-game series starting Friday in Champaign.