MURRAY, Ky. — The Southern Illinois University baseball team scored 23 runs in a 23-5 rout at Murray State on Wednesday. The 23 runs represent the most for SIU in a game since 2013 and the eighth-most in program history.
SIU (5-8) took 19 free passes — 16 walks and three hit batters. When Murray State (7-6) threw the ball in the strike zone, the Salukis pounded 10 extra-base hits — five doubles, two triples and three home runs. SIU did it against a Racer pitching staff that entered the game with the second-best ERA in the OVC.
"They gave us a lot of opportunities, and we put together good ABs to take advantage of those opportunities," SIU head coach Ken Henderson said. "We swung the bats really well, like we're capable of. This is a tough place to pitch. Traditionally, we haven't pitched very well. Today, we kept throwing up zeros after we scored. That was huge. We talked to our hitters in about the fourth inning about, if we're going to be a good club, we have to keep adding on. Keep pounding. Keep the pedal down."
Southern Illinois was playing its fifth game in six days. Tuesday, SIU's pitching threw a 1-hit shutout at SEMO, allowing just one ball to leave the infield. Wednesday, the offense dominated, putting up the third-most runs in a game for SIU in the last 30 years.
"We've thought all along that we're going to be a good offensive club," Henderson said. "We showed signs this weekend of swinging it well. We continued to build on that. Hitting is contagious, and right now, our guys are very confident going to the plate."
Dylan Givens started his first career Division I game and allowed just one run in three innings. Hunter Anderson capped SIU's five-run third inning with a three-run homer, then the Salukis sent 12 to the plate in the fourth inning and scored seven more runs. SIU scored in each of the final seven innings of the game, while the pitching staff held MSU scoreless from the fifth through the eighth innings. Allen Montgomery threw 2.1 no-hit innings to earn his first career win.
"I'm really proud of Dylan," Henderson said. "That's his first start of the year. We knew he wouldn't go long just because he hasn't had extended outings, but he gave our offense a chance to get going. He did a good job."
SIU improved to 4-0 in mid-week games in 2018 after going 3-10 in mid-week games last season. The Salukis host Northern Illinois for a three-game series this weekend at Itchy Jones Stadium.
"It's cold. We've played two-straight nights in adverse conditions and committed no errors. I'm really proud of our guys," Henderson said. "They showed some toughness this week, and we're headed in the right direction."