June 10, 2009

Club baseball team earns World Series berth

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale club baseball team made it to the big stage this year, its most successful season to date.

The Recreational Sports and Services team advanced to the National Collegiate Baseball Association College Division II World Series. This was the first national appearance for the eight-year-old team, which earned the series berth by defeating Northern Illinois University two out of three games en route to the District 6 title.

The team kicked off the season with a 15-3 drubbing of University of Illinois at Springfield Prairie Stars at Rent One Ballpark, home of the Southern Illinois Miners. The club Dawgs finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and earned the seventh seed for the World Series at Pullham Park in Butler, Pa.

“These gentlemen told me from the time the season started that they were going to the World Series and kept asking what I was going to do for them when it happened,” recalls Shane M. Bennett, assistant director of intramural sports and sport clubs for Recreational Sports and Services. “Well, they earned the trip! We covered their hotel expenses for them. They’ve had a lot of weather-related issues this year and even played in the rain at Marion’s Rent One Park just to make sure they had enough games in to qualify for the post-season. I am truly proud of the commitment and the leadership of the team.”

Such baseball greats as Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford and Joe DiMaggio played in historic Pullham Park and the SIUC team was thrilled to be there, according to Brian Ganey, team president. The tournament was double elimination, with the first game against the University of Wyoming. The SIUC club fell 8-3, dropping the team into the loser’s bracket.

The next game was against the Wildcat club team from the University of Kentucky. The Salukis’ season ended with an 11-3 loss. The overall record for the 2009 season was 9-5. Seniors on the team were Brian Ganey, Jeremy Stark, and Benito “Benny” Murillo, while Eric White participated as a graduate student. The team plans even bigger and better accomplishments in 2010.

The SIUC club baseball team roster, listed by hometown, includes:



• Mike Lobes, forestry.


• Steven Berczynski, journalism.

Blue Island

• Benito Murillo, management.


• Austin Johnson, civil engineering.


• Josh Roderick, pre-major.

Carol Stream

• Erik Napientek, electrical engineering.

Carrier Mills

• Calen Kirkland, physical education teacher education.


• Juan Garcia, finance.


• Travis Johnson, pre-major.

• Richard Serritella, journalism.

Hoffman Estates

• Chris Krasny, pre-major.


• Brian Serrano, pre-major.


• Brian Griffin, information systems technologies.


• Eric White, mechanical engineering.

Melrose Park

• Joseph Carlini, aviation management.


• Ryan Bressner, exercise science.

Oak Forest

• Edwin Palocios, exercise science.


• Brian Ganey, electronic systems technologies.

Vernon Hills

• Brandon Arkush, hospitality and tourism.

• Garrett Moy, elementary education.

• Travis Wohlrab, information systems technologies.

Willow Springs

• Chris Makowski, zoology.



• Jeremy Stark, radio-television.



• Michael Miethke, pre-major.