SIU Jacksonville State Baseball

SIU coach Ken Henderson looks on this season against Jacksonville (Alabama) State.

CARBONDALE — SIU coach Ken Henderson announced two junior college signees for the 2019 season on Thursday.

Infielders Philip Archer and Ian Walters will be juniors for SIU in 2018-19.

"We feel as if we have added two really good athletes and two of the best junior college bats in the midwest," Henderson said in a statement. "Both of these athletes fill immediate needs and have the ability to make a significant impact on the program."

Archer, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound infielder at Olney Central Community College, is batting .429 this season for a 34-17 club. The lefty was named the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and Region 24 position player of the year. He has 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 63 RBIs. He is slugging .718 and reaching at a .490 clip. He has struck out just 24 times in nearly 200 at bats.

In NJCAA Division I, Archer ranks in the top-100 in batting average (34th), sac flies (6th), RBIs (36th), slugging (79th), hits (55th), doubles (28th), and total bases (74th).

"Philip is a big, strong athlete and someone that will bring a physical presence to the middle of our lineup, especially from the left side," Henderson said.

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Walters, a 6-foot, 185-pound middle infielder, is Rend Lake College's leading hitter at .331 in 42 games this year. He has earned All-GRAC honors in each of his two seasons at Rend Lake. This year, he has 11 home runs and 41 RBIs, and has scored 44 runs. Walters ranks 15th in the NJCAA with seven triples. Walters hit .333 as a freshman last year. At McCracken High School, Walters hit .405 as a senior and led his team to three regional championships.

"A lot like current Saluki Alex Lyon, Ian is very athletic and has the versatility to play most anywhere on the field," Henderson said. "As his numbers indicate, he is a gifted left-handed bat that combines the ability to hit for average and for power."

SIU (25-23, 8-7 Missouri Valley Conference) will lose two senior infielders after this season, first baseman Logan Blackfan and shortstop Connor Kopach.

The Salukis head to MVC leader Missouri State (30-14, 13-2) this weekend for a three-game series. First pitch at Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri, is set for 6:30 p.m. tonight. Game 2 is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, with the finale at 1 on Sunday. Friday and Saturday's games are scheduled to air on ESPN Plus. 

In conference play, Missouri State (2.98) and Southern Illinois (3.62) have the league’s top-two team ERAs. The Bears won all four games between the two teams last season. The Salukis swept Missouri State in 2016.

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On Twitter: @THefferman


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