Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball outdoes the elements, Racers in offensive outburst

Then-junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson smiles after a meeting with coach Kerri Blaylock on April 7, 2016  against Murray State at Racer Field in Murray, Ky. Patterson went 1-3 with an RBI and a walk in the 10-5 Saluki win.

Then-junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson smiles after a meeting with coach Kerri Blaylock on April 7, 2016 against Murray State at Racer Field in Murray, Ky. Patterson went 1-3 with an RBI and a walk in the 10-5 Saluki win.

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Saluki softball coach Kerri Blaylock called Thursday one of the weirder games she’s ever seen, but she can’t argue with the result.

The Dawgs defeated Murray State 10-5, despite being outhit 14-11.

The Saluki bats were strong out of the gate as three consecutive hits by senior shortstop Kelsey Gonzalez, freshman outfielder Eyrika Brandenburg and sophomore third baseman Sydney Jones scored the game’s first run before an out was recorded.

Advertisement

MORE: Photos from SIU-Murray State

Two more runs were scored in the earlier, sunny environment to give SIU (21-11, 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference) a three-run lead before Murray State (14-19, 4-6 Ohio Valley Conference) could have a chance to bat in the first.

“I was just trying to go out and have a good at-bat coming off the rough weekend,” Gonzalez said.

The three runs in the first were one shy of how many the Salukis scored all series this past weekend in a series sweep by Drake.

Saluki starter Savanna Dover (4-6, 3.72 ERA) went three innings allowing nine hits, but limited the Racers to two runs.

As the game went on, the skies got darker, gradually progressing into a steady rain with strong winds before the sixth inning.

The weather made the area so cold that assistant coach Jen Sewell was asking her players in the dugout who had brought their parkas to the stadium.

And as the weather took a turn for the worse, SIU got better.

In the windy, rainy sixth inning the Salukis tallied six runs off junior Racer pitcher Mason Robinson (10-9, 2.12 ERA), bringing 11 batters to the plate. 

“Robinson kind of handled us last year,” Blaylock said. “So I was proud we were able to get some runs on the board off her.

In last season’s 6-4 loss to Murray State, Robinson pitched six innings allowing just one run on three hits. Today, she gave up the six runs across 3 1/3 innings.

Freshman designated player Hanna Porter brought home her second and third RBIs of the game in the sixth inning with a single. She went 3-4 in the contest with a double and three RBIs. 

“Different people came in and helped us today,” Blaylock said. “Porter helped out a lot, [junior catcher] Jessa Thomas got a big hit early.”

SIU received contributions throughout its lineup as eight of the nine hitters picked up a hit while seven got at least one RBI.

Murray made its best attempt to answer in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring three runs ending with junior first baseman Jessica Twaddle’s two-RBI single to bring the game to its final score of 10-5. She was the only Racer to get multiple RBIs, going 2-4 with three RBIs.

To cap it off, the sun came back out in the seventh inning to help the weather come full circle.

“It was just a weird game,” Blaylock said. “Whether it was the elements, the number of hits in the game from both sides or the number of bloopers and dinks. I was really proud of them for just hanging in there and getting a win on the road in a midweek game.”

The key to the game was SIU’s opportunistic hitting, as the Dawgs were 8-16 with with runners in scoring position. The Racers went 6-19.

In each of the first four innings Murray State got a runner into scoring position, but could only scratch across two runs.

Freshman pitcher Brianna Jones (16-5, 1.76 ERA) came in to finish off the game, throwing four innings to pick up the win.

The win comes as a reprieve for the Salukis, who were coming off the Drake sweep and saw their scheduled game Wednesday against Tennessee-Martin called off because of weather. Thursday’s game came together on a day’s notice after Wednesday’s cancellation.

“Having to go the whole week thinking about the sweep, we just wanted to get back out there,” Gonzalez said. “We needed to get things rolling again, which I think we did that.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.

Advertisement

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




The student news site of Southern Illinois University