Five-run fifth salvages split for Saluki softball
SIU softball scored in just one of the 14 innings it played Friday, was enough to win the second game of its doubleheader.
Immediately after being handed their first shutout loss of the season in a 7-0 loss to Eastern Illinois, the Salukis found their bats in the fifth of game two of the day. They eventually defeated North Florida, 5-3.
Eastern’s junior pitcher Michelle Rogers (5-1, 0.90 ERA) thoroughly shut down the Salukis in the first game of Mississippi State’s February Freezer tournament. She allowed six baserunners throughout the game, earning her second complete game shutout of the season.
Meanwhile, SIU junior pitcher Savanna Dover (3-2, 2.00 ERA) had her roughest outing of the season, allowing six earned runs on six hits.
Southern had the opportunity to strike first in the game, getting runners on first and second in the opening inning, but it couldn’t get anyone around to score. Clutch hitting was an issue for SIU the whole game as it went 0-12 with runners on base.
The Panthers (7-3) pounced early, scoring their first run in the second and adding another two in the third before their biggest inning. Eastern got a pair of two-run home runs from sophomore outfielder Kayla Bear and freshman catcher Haley Mitchell to extend the lead to the final 7-0.
SIU’s hitting appeared to carry over into the second game early, as they earned two hits through the first four innings.
Sophomore pitcher Nicole Doyle kept SIU (7-5) within striking distance. North Florida brought around a single run in that time.
Things started to look bleak for the Salukis as an Ospreys single coupled with an error by sophomore left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg allowed North Florida (7-6) to score two more runs heading into the bottom of the fifth.
SIU then responded in a big way. Two walks and an error loaded the bases for junior third baseman Haley Andrus, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement. She then brought home SIU’s first run of the day with a RBI single.
Senior Shaye Harre then stepped in with the bases still loaded and brought home two more runs on another single tie the game. Harre had a huge game for SIU, reaching base each time she came to the plate in addition to the two RBIs.
Freshman second baseman Maddy Vermejan cleared the bases with a two-RBI single of her own on the next pitch to give Southern the lead.
From there, Doyle (1-2, 3.62 ERA) never looked back. She allowed just one more hit in the final two innings to earn her first win of the season.
SIU will be back in action at 12:30 p.m. Saturday to face host Mississippi State before the bracket play begins later in the day.