Daily Egyptian

SIU softball takes rubber match with Missouri State

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

It took some assistance from the other team to get the Saluki offense started, but it got the job done in the end.

SIU took the series against Missouri State 2-1 with an 8-6 victory over the Bears in Springfield, Mo., on Sunday.

“[Road series wins] are huge,” Saluki coach Kerri Blaylock said. “I feel like last weekend we got a bit shocked at Drake, but we rebounded well and got a win yesterday and were able to finish it off today.”

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Sophomore right fielder Jessica Heese broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning with a two-RBI double, scoring sophomore third baseman Sydney Jones and freshman left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg who both reached on bunt singles.

Heese game-winning double capped off her strong week at the plate, batting .500 (7-14) with nine RBIs and scoring seven runs in four games.

The Dawgs (23-12, 7-4 Missouri Valley Conference) pushed the lead to 8-4 on a wild pitch by Missouri State senior pitcher Jessie Van Es (1-3, 4.36 ERA) and single from junior catcher Jessa Thomas.

Even with a four-run lead, the bottom of the inning would not be void of dramatics. 

After a two-run home run from sophomore pitcher/first baseman Kaitlin Beason cut the lead to two, another Bear single brought the tying run to the plate, but a foul out ended the game.

Missouri State (14-21, 3-7 MVC) got two quick runs in the first off Saluki sophomore starter Savanna Dover (5-6, 3.81 ERA), who was unable to replicate her Game Two victory performance, who pitched 2/3 of an inning allowing two hits then three straight walks.

Blaylock said she started Dover because of her strong outing on Saturday and felt it was a positive matchup for her. Once she ran into trouble, Blaylock said it was time to make a change.

Freshman pitcher Brianna Jones (17-6, 2.07 ERA) came in to stop the bleeding, getting a pop-out to end a bases loaded jam. Jones picked up her MVC-leading 17th win on the season, pitching 6 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on eight hits.

SIU’s four-run seventh was not its only four-run inning in the game, as they scored four in the second.

The difference in the second was that Missouri State contributed to its own demise with three infield throwing errors.

Blaylock said that the errors were not solely the Bears’ fault. 

“We forced those errors,” she said. “We went out and hit the ball hard and forced them to make plays.”

None of the four Saluki runs were earned and didn’t affect the ERA of Beason (5-5, 3.52 ERA), the Bears starter. She finished with two earned runs across 6 1/3 innings. The loss went to junior Erin Streumph (8-13, 3,82 ERA), who allowed two runs before recording an out in the seventh.

Sunday’s win gives SIU a 3-4 record on its seven-game road trip. 

The Dawgs return home to play Murray State at 3:30 Wednesday at Charlotte West Stadium, beginning a six-game homestand.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3304.

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