Daily Egyptian

SIU sweeps doubleheader with Illinois State

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

The Saluki bats didn’t come out in full force, but they did all they needed to secure two wins.

SIU swept Illinois State in a doubleheader for the first time since March 29, 2008, earning its sixth and seventh wins in a row in the process.

The Dawgs have now won 11 of their last 12 games and are 11 games over .500.

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Game One of the day was a pitcher’s duel, but ended in a 1-0 SIU (19-8, 4-0 Missouri Valley Conference) victory.

Both starters threw complete games, but Saluki freshman Brianna Jones’ (14-3, 1.43 ERA) earned her seventh shutout of the season, which ties her for first in Division I and is the most among freshmen.

Redbird senior starter Regan Romshek (3-5, 4.89 ERA) had a great outing as well. She allowed three hits to Jones’ four, but the one run allowed ended up delivering her the loss.

“She threw well,” Blaylock said. “A one-run game,  hey, that’s how we used to play. There was none of this nine to eight stuff. What a pitcher’s duel.”

SIU’s lone run of the game came in the second via consecutive singles by sophomore right fielder Jessica Heese, senior designated player Caylee Cook and junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson.

From the bottom of the second to the top of the sixth, 20 straight batters were retired between the two pitchers.

Illinois State squandered a lead-off double twice.

Jones’ four hits allowed came from Redbird junior center fielder Annie Heineman and senior left fielder Payton Billups, who each had two. 

Game Two saw both sides’ bats wake up a bit, in a 4-1 Saluki victory.

SIU had home runs from Heese (her third) and Patterson (fifth) after falling behind 1-0 in the second.

Heese’s home run is her third in 10 days after not having any prior.

“I think getting more at-bats and being more confident in myself has really helped me,” she said. 

Her batting average before that stint was .263 and is now at .339.

The one run is all that sophomore pitcher Savanna Dover (4-5, 3.36 ERA) would give up in 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out two.

Jones came in to shut the door, pitching 1 1/3 innings to earn her second career save.

“Dover just started to get tired,” Blaylock said. “We work as a staff, and I just thought it was time to bring Bri in and kind of settle things down and she did.”

Just two of seven Redbird hits left the infield and they stranded nine runners in the game. 

“Pitching and defense is what we’ve always been built on,” Blaylock said. “That’s how we try to do it. That’s what I want and the offense will come.”

The Salukis will try to complete the sweep at noon Saturday. If they do so, it’ll be the first sweep of the Redbirds since 2005.

“It’s great to get a sweep,” Blaylock said. “But we’re not satisfied. We want to get all three games.”

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

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