Although the Salukis had a slow start in Wednesday’s game against Southeast Missouri State, Katie Bertelsen’s deadly pitching allowed the team to win 7-6.
SIU (31-14) was down 2-0 to the Redhawks (22-26) in the top of the third inning and struggled against SEMO’s starting pitcher Alora Marble. But the team came to life after senior centerfielder Mallory Duran-Sellers’ line drive double hit, which brought in SIU’s first run. Coach Kerri Blaylock said Marble’s pitching in the beginning of the game affected the Salukis’ offense. She said she was overall pleased in how the team stayed focused to finish the game.
“This is a tough team to beat, and they’re not a bad team” Blaylock said. “I think it took us a while to adjust to (Marble’s) pitches. I was really please with the way we took some walks because it led to some big innings for us.”
The Salukis first run gave them momentum for the rest of the game. With bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, sophomore infielder Taylor Orsburn added a double for the Salukis’ first (3-2) lead of the game.
Orsburn said the first couple of innings were tough, but the team battled through it. She said the game meant a lot, especially after the loss to Evansville Tuesday.
“It was a bit difficult to start, but it felt good for everybody to step up and help get the runs that we needed,” Orsburn said. “This game definitely relaxes us quite a bit and relieves us.”
The Redhawks responded to the Salukis’ offense boost with their only home-run of the game to the top of the fifth inning to take a (5-3) lead. About 158 fans stood on their feet and cheered “S-I-U, S-I-U” in hope for a Saluki comeback. Sophomore catcher Allie VadeBoncouer sparked a line drive down center field and brought in two runs for the Salukis to tie the game (5-5).
VadeBoncouer said it was an obvious battle from the back and forth play from both teams, and she knew what she had to do when she stepped up to the plate. She said the team who finished strong is the accomplished team in the end.
“It was a constant battle, but it’s ‘do or die’ in the end,” VadeBoncouer said. “I’m glad we showed that we can stick it out no matter what.”
The Salukis clinched the game offensively, after freshman outfielder Meredith Wilson hit the ball in the bottom of the fifth inning for a (7-5) lead deep in center field. The Redhawks came within one run in the top of the sixth inning to condense the lead to (7-6).
Bertelsen’s strike out pitches closed out the game to give the Salukis a win.
The Salukis will continue in action Saturday and Sunday in a weekend Missouri Valley Conference series against Northern Iowa, the No.1 team in the MVC, at the Charlotte West Stadium.