Southern Illinois Preview

The San Jose State baseball team opens a five game home stand tonight against Southern Illinois.

This game should prove interesting and has more interesting points than at first meets the eye. The Salukis (its a dog) are in the Missouri Valley Conference which has as its power Wichita State where the Spartans will play a weekend series in April. The Spartans are playing Southern Illinois and not the Wheatshockers this weekend, however, so on to them. I wrote this little preview of the coming year earlier and have updated it with recent stats.

SIU hit .286 as a team in 2009 which was five points lower than the oppositions BA (.291) so hitting wasnt their strong suit nor was pitching. Their hitting is better this year as they are over .300 at .304. They have three starters hitting over .400 so they will be no pushovers at bat. Their team ERA was 4.77 and the opposition was 4.16 which says the pitching was a bit better. Their 24-28 record speaks to their rather ordinary hitting and pitching which was just about in the middle of the pack as you would figure. Team ERA for 2010 is a poor 9.91 which speaks to the teams 4-6 record. No starting pitcher has a decent ERA with the leader (Jimmy Cornell) at 7.71. This sounds all too familiar to us Spartans fans.

They lose one of their top three hitters to graduation and return a freshman (Chris Serritella, Honorable Mention All-MVC) who hit .325 with 4 homeruns his initial season. Hes hitting .333 this year with 4 homeruns. Also returning is Aaron Roberts who will be a senior. He hit .301 (.260 presently) and had 0 homeruns. The big stick who well see is senior Tyler Bullock who hit .292 with 11 homeruns and 33 RBIs and was selected as a first team All-MVC as a DH. Currently hes at .303 with 1 homerun. At 64 and 277 pounds he will be hard to miss. Of their nine position players who saw significant playing time last year, they lose only two, one of which was their leading hitter. They appear to be a young team. The hitters to watch are Nick Johnson (.485), Chris Murphy (.481), and Blake Pinnon (.400).

The pitching staff loses two of their three starters and return only Jimmy Cornell who at 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA appears to be a pretty good one (for 2010 hes 1-1 and 7.71). At 66 IP he had 66 SO but far too many walks at 40 which led the team in both categories by quite a lot (leads the team in strikeouts). Another returning pitcher is Bryant George was was 3-0 and 3.21 in 28 IP and was also selected as a first team All-MVC pitcher (presently 2-0 and 10.00). He had a pretty good SO/BB ratio of 21/7 on a staff that looks (by the numbers) like it showed little control. To make first team All-MVC with only 28 IP says a lot for this young man. Stat sheet shows him with no starts so he must be a closer or an important reliever.

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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at

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