The Southern Illinois University baseball team run-ruled the SIUE Cougars, 22-10 in seven innings Tuesday night at Roy E. Lee Field.
Southern plated 10 runs in the top of the first and led 12-0 after two and a half innings. SIUE put up five runs of its own in the bottom of the third but the Salukis struck back for three runs in the fourth and put the finishing touches on the contest with a seven run sixth inning. The Cougars scored five in the bottom of the seventh to close the gap down to 22-10 but Jake Kutzendorf came on to get the game’s final out with two runners on to keep the run-rule intact.
SIU’s potent offense, which came into the contest leading the MVC in on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, home runs and walks, only added to its conference-lead in the victory. Southern had at least one runner reach safely in each inning and 11 different Salukis reached base safely at least once, of which eight reached multiple times.
SIU’s 22 runs scored were tied for its most in a game under third-year head coach Lance Rhodes and its 15 walks drawn were the most by a Valley school this season. The Salukis also pounded out 12 hits, which marked the 30th game this season that SIU has finished with double-digit hits.
The Salukis set the tone early with a 10-spot in the top of the first. Southern sent 14 batters to the plate in the frame and tallied seven walks and four hits, which included J.T. Weber’s single-season record 18th home run of the season. Ryan Rodriguez got SIU on the board first with a RBI-double and Pier Olivier-Boucher followed with a two-run single of his own. Jeremy Schork and Jack Rigoni worked bases loaded walks and Weber cleared the bases with a grand slam to break Nick Neville’s 2021 school record for home runs in a single-season.
Southern added to its lead in the third, as Kaeber Rog worked one of his game-high four walks and came around to score on a two-out error by the Cougars. Back-to-back walks plated an additional run for the Salukis to close out the frame.
The Cougars cut the lead to down to 12-5 through three innings before the Salukis responded with three runs in the top of the fourth. Jeremy Schork led off with his third home run of the season and Southern loaded the bases with three-straight walks. The Salukis then traded an out for a run and followed with a sacrifice fly to push its lead back to ten.
After a scoreless fifth from both teams, the Salukis scored seven more runs in the sixth. Southern sent 12 hitters to the plate and finished with four hits and five walks. Pier-Olivier Boucher, J.T. Weber and Zack Jensen all had RBIs in the frame.
Weber and Schork each had a double, a home run and two walks apiece, while Rog drew four walks and drove in a run. Weber’s 6 RBI were a season-high. Jack Rigoni reached base four times, while Ryan Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI and Boucher was 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI.
Jordan Gould improved to 4-0 after he threw two and two-third innings of one-hit relief. Gould struck out three of the 10 batters he faced. He was one of five different Salukis to pitch on Tuesday.
The Salukis are back in action this weekend when they host the Indiana State Sycamores for a pivotal MVC series. The three-game set begins Friday, May 13 at 3 p.m. Saturday’s game is a 2 p.m. start while Sunday’s 1 p.m. contest will serve as Senior Day.