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SIU softball splits midweek doubleheader with Evansville

Senior+first+basewoman+Shaye+Harre+directs+another+player+during+a+play+Friday%2C+March+3%2C+2017%2C+during+SIU%27s+1-7+loss+to+the+University+of+Kentucky+at+Charlotte+West+Stadium.+%28Morgan+Timms+%7C+%40Morgan_Timms%29
Senior first basewoman Shaye Harre directs another player during a play Friday, March 3, 2017, during SIU's 1-7 loss to the University of Kentucky at Charlotte West Stadium. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Senior first basewoman Shaye Harre directs another player during a play Friday, March 3, 2017, during SIU's 1-7 loss to the University of Kentucky at Charlotte West Stadium. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Senior first basewoman Shaye Harre directs another player during a play Friday, March 3, 2017, during SIU's 1-7 loss to the University of Kentucky at Charlotte West Stadium. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

By Sean Carley

If the Saluki softball offense was on a spectrum, its two games Wednesday against Evansville were on total opposite ends.

SIU struggled mightily against 2016 All-MVC First Team pitcher Morgan Florey (13-6, 1.75 ERA), who held the Salukis to just two hits in her complete game shutout victory.

In five of the seven innings, Florey shut down the Salukis in order, striking out 12 in the process.

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The Salukis stayed within striking distance thanks to sophomore pitcher Brianna Jones’ strong outing. She gave up eight hits in the game, but held the Aces to just 2-10 with runners on in the game.

However, both of those hits with runners on came in the seventh inning. With runners at second and third with no one out, senior Susan Norris pinch hit for Evansville and drove home the decisive run with a walk-off single to left field, sealing the 1-0 victory for the Aces.

The loss marked the sixth time Jones has started and given up one run or fewer, and the second time doing so in a loss.

In the second game, with Florey out of the way, SIU came back with a vengeance.

Southern scored double-digit runs for the fifth time this season in a 10-7 victory. The Salukis took advantage of Aces’ mistakes in the first four innings, needing only six hits to score 10 runs thanks to seven walks, two passed balls, an error and a hit batter.

When SIU did get a hit during that time, it was likely a big one as four of those six hits were for extra bases, including senior Shaye Harre’s two-RBI double in the first inning and senior Merri Anne Patterson’s three-RBI home run in the fourth.

Harre’s double was the 42nd of her career, which is one away from tying the program record and is also four RBIs away from tying the SIU career record in that category. As close as she is to breaking those records, the Nashville, Illinois, native did break one on Wednesday, as she drew her new record 46th walk on the season.

After those tenacious four innings where it looked like SIU was en route to a run-rule victory, Evansville decided to battle back, roughing up Saluki pitchers Savanna Dover and Nicole Doyle for five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to draw within three at 10-7.

After senior right fielder Chandra Parr homered off Dover, she walked the next batter. Doyle came in to walk the next two batters to load the bases, and then hit the batter after that to bring in a run. Senior second baseman Michal Luckett brought home two more on a single before the inning was finished.

Florey then hurt SIU with her bat, launching a home run to open the fifth and coach Kerri Blaylock turned to Jones, her last remaining pitcher, to close out the game.

After all the midweek matchups in the Valley on Wednesday, SIU and Evansville both remain in a deadlock with Missouri State for fourth place in the conference at 10-7.

Southern will have a crack at the third place team, Wichita State, with a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SeanMCarley.

To stay up to date with all your SIU news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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