CARBONDALE — Noah Farmer and Dylan Givens supplied six effective innings of long relief for SIU’s baseball team Saturday.
The only problem with that was by the time the duo worked their magic, the Salukis were in a hole they couldn’t dig out of, no matter what happened.
Trailing 6-0 before they hit in the second inning, SIU dropped an 8-2 decision to Missouri Valley Conference rival Indiana State at Itchy Jones Stadium.
“We didn’t give ourselves much of a game by getting down 6-0,” Salukis coach Ken Henderson said.
SIU (25-22, 8-6) was in the problem from the game’s fourth hitter. Jamison Steege followed up a one-out single by CJ Huntley by yielding a two-out, two-run homer to designated hitter Romero Harris on an 0-1 offering.
Steege (4-4) created his own problems in the second by dropping a throw at first from Logan Blackfan to put Huntley on base and give the Sycamores (23-20, 5-9) a fourth out. Giesler made the Salukis pay by launching a grand slam to right-center, his 11th of the year.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t execute one of the most mundane plays in the game and that happens,” Henderson said.
Farmer entered the next inning and authored a nice bounceback effort. The freshman from Metropolis, who ceded four hits and three runs without notching an out in a relief appearance Tuesday night at Illinois, didn’t permit a hit in his three-inning stint.
“I was able to get ahead, throw a lot of fastballs and use our defense,” Farmer said. “It was nice to go out there and deliver. My teammates made some nice plays behind me.”
SIU got its two runs in the fourth. A double steal by Alex Lyon and Hunter Anderson turned into a run on a throwing error by catcher Max Wright, and Austin Ulick’s infield out plated Anderson.
The Salukis could have changed the game’s narrative in the seventh. They loaded the bases with two outs against Triston Polley (6-2), forcing Indiana State to go to the bullpen for reliever Ethan Larrison.
Nikola Vasic sent a bouncer behind third base. Jake Means made a long, accurate throw to first that nipped Vasic by a step, quelling the last serious threat for SIU.
“I thought we battled and had some good at-bats, but it’s hard when you get down 6-0,” Henderson said.
Indiana State capped the scoring with RBI singles by Harris in the eighth and Clay Dungan in the ninth.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. today with the Salukis starting Brad Harrison (5-3, 3.53) against Weston Rivers (2-0, 1.64) in a matchup of lefthanders.