Pitchers finish regular season with shutouts

By Gus Bode

SIU associate head coach Jen Sewell argues a call Sunday during the Salukis 1-0 victory over Drake at Charlotte West Stadium. The Salukis will compete starting Thursday in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Springfield, Mo. Ð Lauren Leone | Daily Egyptian

The Salukis won back-to-back shutouts, 6-0 and 1-0, to seal a series win against the Drake Bulldogs Saturday and Sunday at Charlotte West Stadium to close regular-season play.

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All three games in the weekend series were won by a shutout, and SIU (35-16, 17-6 Missouri Valley Conference) placed third in the conference standings behind Illinois State and Drake (33-20, 19-6 MVC).

Coach Kerri Blaylock said the Saluki pitchers threw well, but the whole defense really came to life when the offense wasn’t able to produce runs.

“Our outfield came in and attacked on balls,” Blaylock said. “We kind of cut them down by keeping them off the bases.”

In the first game of the series, Drake pitcher Jenna DeLong pulled out a 4-0 win over senior pitcher Danielle Glosson and the Salukis, which denied them a shot at second place in the conference.

Senior pitcher Alex Peters answered back in the second game with a shutout of her own against Drake where freshman first baseman Taylor Orsburn hit her 10th home run of the season to tie for eighth most home runs in a single season by a Saluki softball player.

Orsburn said she is glad to be able to contribute to her team as much as she did, and she didn’t expect to accomplish so much in her freshman year.

“It’s actually overwhelming,” Orsburn said. “I didn’t think I would do this good and coming in with everybody being great and helping us freshmen out. It’s been terrific.”

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Orsburn also leads the team with 48 RBIs and has a .343 batting average, which is the second best on the team. She recorded the Salukis’ only RBI of Sunday’s game.

Blaylock also reached 450 wins as a coach with Saturday’s win and said she hopes to reach 500 someday.

“I’m not supposed to be able to retire until 2021, so I’ve got 10 years before I can retire, so hopefully I’ll get 500 by then,” Blaylock said. “It’s all because of the players, not me. I just put them out there and try not to screw them up.”

Senior catcher Cristina Trapani said she was glad to win the final game of the regular season, but she was still disappointed the regular season had to end.

“We were all a little sad in the locker room, but it’s just something you have to deal with, and we’re all looking forward to the tournament,” Trapani said.

Glosson said the feeling of her last home game has not yet hit her, but she needs to stay focused on the conference tournament to pitch well.

“I’m hoping that we can just stay together for a while longer and go to the tournament, hopefully win it, go to regionals and just keep on rolling,” she said. “That’s what I want to do.”

The Salukis will play their first game in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday in Springfield, Mo.

 

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