Saluki softball capitalizes on errors to win Day Three of Lion Classic

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Sophomore softball pitcher Savanna Dover showed Sunday that freshman pitcher Brianna Jones isn’t the only women on the staff that can throw a shutout.

Dover threw the third complete game shutout for SIU (3-2) on the weekend as the Salukis defeated the Buffalo Bulls (1-4) in a mercy-rule shortened 8-0 victory on Sunday.

“It all started in the circle,” coach Kerri Blaylock said. “[Dover] threw fantastic today.”

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MORE: Lion Classic Day One Recap | Lion Classic Day Two Recap

Dover finished the game allowing just four baserunners: three hits and one walk.

Eleven of her 15 recorded outs were groundouts, which Blaylock said is a huge positive for the team.

“It makes things a lot easier defensively and easier for Savanna, too,” she said. 

Bulls freshman starting pitcher Ally Power made the game a pitchers duel for four innings, limiting the Salukis to one hit and striking out three.

SIU scratched in an unearned run during the top of the first after freshman left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg got on base with a walk and scored on a Buffalo throwing error.

The Salukis’ offense went rampant in the fifth inning and scored seven runs.

Another Bulls’ fielding error allowed senior utility Caylee Cook to reach base, and Brandenburg tripled to bring her home. Brandenburg had three RBIs on the weekend in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. A wild pitch brought Brandenburg home for the second run in the inning.

SIU sophomore infielder Sydney Jones followed with a double, and after junior first baseman Shaye Harre walked, freshman outfielder Hanna Porter connected for her first career home run to make it 6-0 Salukis. 

“It was really cool to have the team behind me and support me this weekend, and they all did their job, so I had to do mine,” Porter said of the home run.

Sophomore outfielder Jessica Heese’s RBI single scored junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson, who reached on the second Bulls error of the inning. Sophomore infielder Savannah Fisher reached on the third error, allowing Heese to score for the seventh and final run in the inning, pushing the lead to 8-0.

Dover then worked around a lead-off double in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game.

She said she was excited to finally get her first win after three starts this weekend, but the win matters more for the team.

“I think we’re all ready,” Dover said. “This weekend has been really positive to build off of, and I’m excited to move forward into the season.”

SIU will hit the road again next Friday through Sunday for the Florida Gulf Coast University Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., facing off with Long Island-Brooklyn, Marshall, FGCU and Hofstra.

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

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