March 4, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Three University of Iowa pitchers limited Southern Illinois to just four hits Friday afternoon, but the Salukis rallied for a 2-1, 11-inning victory in the series opener at Richard “Itchy” Jones Stadium.
“It was a frustrating game and a tough loss,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “When you have one like we had tonight, you have to finish the deal, and we just weren’t able to do it.”
In his first career Friday start, C.J. Eldred pitched like an ace for the Hawkeyes. The sophomore right-handed pitcher had a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one unearned run on two hits over nine innings. He had four strikeouts to one walk.
“He was dominant,” said Heller. “They weren’t putting good swings on him and didn’t even really threaten the entire game. He was fantastic, had command of all of his pitches and stepped up when we didn’t have Tyler Peyton. He gave us a chance to win; this is a game we are going to walk away thinking we should have won.”
The Hawkeye offense mustered only two hits against SIU starter Joey Marciano and four hits over the first nine frames. Iowa used a three-hit inning in the 10th to notch the game’s first run.
Junior Corbin Woods started the inning with an infield single before moving into scoring position on a Mitchell Boe sacrifice bunt. Senior Joel Booker followed with an infield single, putting runners at the corners, before junior Mason McCoy came through with an RBI single to left field to make the score 1-0.
Southern Illinois’ Jake Hand led off the 10th inning with a single to left field to end Eldred’s day before advancing to second base on an errant pickoff throw from freshman reliever Zach Daniels. Daniels recovered to get two outs — the second on a strikeout — but SIU’s Hunter Anderson tied the game with an RBI single to extend the game.
After Iowa went down in order in the 11th, SIU’s Ryan Sabo was plunked by a Daniels pitch to lead off the bottom half. Will Farmer welcomed Iowa reliever Tyler Radtke with a double to right center to put two runners on and an intentional walk loaded the bases with nobody out. Dyllin Mucha gave SIU its second consecutive walk-off win on a sacrifice fly to center field.
“They didn’t have many opportunities, but when they did, they took advantage of it,” said Heller. “We had more opportunities than they did, but we only had the one time where we got the hit.”
Daniels (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on one hit in one inning of work. Southern Illinois’ Anthony Shimkus earned his third win, pitching a perfect 11th.
Iowa’s offense out-hit the Salukis, 7-4, with three hits coming from McCoy (3-for-5, RBI) — his first career three-hit game and third multi-hit game this season.
Game two of the series is set for a 2 p.m. (CT) start Saturday.