Saluki softball comes up short in February Freezer championship
SIU softball got a second chance to redeem another one of its losses when it faced Mississippi State in the championship game of its February Freezer.
However, the second game ended up a lot like the first: a 6-2 loss to the Bulldogs.
Much like the first game, SIU took a 2-0 lead to open the scoring. After freshman right fielder Susie Baranski and sophomore left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg found themselves at second and third to start the game, senior first baseman Shaye Harre brought them home with a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle.
Harre had one of the best weekends for SIU, going 6 for 12 on the weekend, which raised her batting average from .280 entering the tournament to a now team-high .351. She also drew five walks to raise her on-base percentage to a team-high .520.
SIU starter Savanna Dover was able to hold this lead for the length of her stint in the game. She pitched a total of 2-plus innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and walking three.
Dover was replaced by sophomore Nicole Doyle (2-3, 4.85 ERA) who dodged any damage through the third inning but found trouble in the fourth and picked up the loss.
Also like the two teams’ first meeting, Mississippi State’s offense exploded almost all in one inning. The Bulldogs roughed up Doyle for four hits that resulted in four runs in the fourth inning to take their first lead.
Junior infielder Reggie Harrison got the scoring started with an RBI single. Two batters later, fellow junior infielder Olivia Golden cleared the bases with a three-run home run to make it 5-2 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State junior pitcher Holly Ward (2-1, 1.29 ERA) was dealing from the second she entered the game in the third. Once MSU took its lead, she didn’t allow a single Saluki to reach base for the remainder of the game.
SIU will try to emulate Mississippi State’s success in its home tournament next weekend when it hosts Kentucky, Western Illinois, Northern Illinois and Murray State at Charlotte West Stadium for the Coach B Classic. SIU’s first game in the invitational will be at 3 p.m. Friday against Kentucky.