Salukis claim second-straight MVC series

By Jack Robinson

 

The Salukis scored a combined 15 runs in the final innings of all three weekend games to claim a series win against Wichita State University.

SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said series win was key to kickstart another good weekend.

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“If you win a series and you keep winning two out of three, you are in good shape.” she said. “I told the kids we have to be ready to score runs at times as well.”

The series’ first two games were played in a Saturday doubleheader. Despite an early 4-0 lead in the first game, the Salukis came back from a 6-4 deficit in the seventh inning to beat the Shockers 7-6.

Junior infielder Jayna Spivey hit an RBI single in the first inning to give the Salukis the first lead. Senior outfielder Michelle Bradley then hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning to allow sophomore outfielder Kalyn Harker to score. With a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third, senior outfielder Morgan Barchan hit a solo home run to jump up 3-0. Freshman infielder Kelsey Gonzalez hit an RBI single afterward, and the Salukis led the game 4-0 to cap off a productive inning.

The Shockers played catch-up in the top of the sixth inning after they scored four runs on six hits. WSU senior infielder Hayley Temple hit an RBI single to score the first run, and SIU sophomore pitcher Katie Bertelsen threw a wild pitch that scored WSU junior infielder Ali Vandever. Shocker sophomore catcher Brianne Bond then hit a two-run double to tie the game 4-4 with two runners on base.

Both Temple and WSU junior infielder Erin Carney hit separate RBI singles in the top of the seventh to lead the game 6-4. The Salukis then rallied to score three runs in the game’s final inning. Spivey started the scoring with a two-run home run to tie the game at six runs. Then, with two runners on base, Harker hit an RBI walk-off single to left field to win the game 7-6.

The Salukis kept the hot bats swinging in Saturday’s second game as they scored 14 runs in six innings. SIU scored quickly and led the game 4-1 after the first inning.

WSU evened the game at four in the third inning, when the Shockers scored three runs on four hits. The first runs came when Carney hit a triple to left field and scored two runners. Freshman outfielder Brittany Fortner followed the play with a single through the middle, and Carney scored to tie the game at four.

However, Saluki junior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to increase the Saluki lead to 8-4.

The Salukis followed the fourth inning with another four-run surge by Gonzalez, Barchan, Orsburn and Spivey in the bottom of the fifth.

SIU tallied two more runs in the sixth inning to force the six-run mercy rule and win the game 14-6.

In the weekend’s final game, the Salukis allowed four runs in the first three innings and dropped the game 6-2.

The second inning brought the Shockers two runs on two hits when WSU junior outfielder Molly Baker doubled to left field and drove in two runs to take the early 2-0 lead. Bond then singled in the third inning and brought in Carney as well as Vandever for a 4-0 lead.

After Carney scored for the Shockers to lead 5-0, the Salukis didn’t put a run on the board until the fifth inning. Southern Illinois scored when WSU senior pitcher Katie Armagost walked two SIU runners and allowed a two-run RBI single by SIU’s sophomore outfielder Meredith Wilson to make the score 5-2 in favor of WSU.

After the Shockers added another run from Fortner’s RBI double in the top of the sixth inning, the Salukis failed to score another for the rest of the game.

The weekend series brought the Salukis’ record to 16-19 on the season and 4-6 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Bradley said the team’s early-season play prepared it for later conference games.

“We had a hard beginning of the season, and I think as we go we will keep getting better and better,” she said. “This is a part where we can either make a turn for the best or a turn for the worst.”

Saluki sophomore relief pitcher Alyssa Wunderlich said keeping offense strong will be crucial as the team heads into its next series.

“We had really hard hits today that were right at people,” she said. “I think if our offense comes and we play strong defense like we have all year, then I think we’ll be OK.”

The Salukis will travel to Martin, Tenn., Wednesday to face the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at 4 p.m.

Jack Robinson can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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