Panthers power past Salukis with long ball

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

The Saluki softball team traveled to Charleston Wednesday night for its last midweek game and non-conference game of the season. SIU (19-24-1, 13-10) dropped the throwaway game 4-0 to Eastern Illinois University (18-24, 12-10).

Senior Katie Bertelsen, who leads the Missouri Valley Conference in wins, started the game for the Salukis. She suffered the loss with 4 runs allowed on 7 hits, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched. 

The scoring at Williams Field was at a minimum for all but 2 innings of the game.

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In the bottom of the third, junior right fielder April Markowski hit Bertelsen’s pitch to center field and out of the reach of senior center fielder Kalyn Harker’s outstretched glove to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. 

The Salukis struggled to plate runners but did not struggle to get runners on base. SIU stranded nine runners in the game, with bases loaded in the first, and two runners on in the second and third. 

In the bottom of the fourth, a heads-up play from freshman second baseman Savannah Fisher saved a run. She threw home on a ground ball to prevent a run from scoring and kept the game within 2 runs. 

The fifth inning featured an unusual delay after the home plate umpire was caught with a foul tip and needed to be replaced by a base umpire for the remainder of the game. 

After a 30-minute delay, action returned, but the runs never showed up for the Salukis.

EIU freshman pitcher Michelle Rogers earned the win for the Panthers. Rogers (7-12) allowed no runs on 4 hits, 5 walks and 4 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. 

In the sixth inning, junior first baseman Kylie Bennett hit a home run, again to center field, to double the Panther lead to 4-0 scoring senior catcher Hannah Cole. 

Sophomore first baseman Shaye Harre did not have an official at-bat in the game, drawing 3 walks. Of the 4 hits for SIU, sophomore shortstop Kelsey Gonzalez and senior right fielder Meredith Wilson each added one to extend their reached base streaks to 14 games. 

The Salukis close their season with a weekend series against Missouri State beginning at noon Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269. 

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