Daily Egyptian

Drake dominates SIU in series sweep

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU softball (13-21-1, 7-8) was swept in a weekend series by the Missouri Valley Conference leader Drake (24-12, 13-2). 

Saluki coach Kerri Blaylock gave credit to Drake after the sweep.

“They deserve to be No. 1,” she said. “We faced the two best pitchers in the league and a great team.”

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In game one, the Salukis led all game until the last inning of a 3-2 loss. 

Junior shortstop Kesley Gonzalez led off the game with a single. She scored on sophomore first baseman Shaye Harre’s ground out.

Senior right fielder Meredith Wilson led off the second inning with a solo home run to extend the lead. 

Senior pitcher Katie Bertelsen kept the Bulldogs hitless through 3.2 innings when senior pitcher Rebekah Schmidt doubled in the right-center field gap. 

The Bulldogs came up in the seventh with 1 hit and no runs. Senior right fielder Hayley Nybo led off the inning with a walk. Schmidt tied the game with a two-run home run. Three batters later, freshman shortstop Tasha Alexander hit another home run to put Drake up 3-2. 

Schmidt returned to pitch with a lead and collected her fifth strikeout and two routine fly balls to win the game. She finished with 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. 

Bertelsen, who finished with 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts, said she always has one inning a game that she thinks too much and does not just pitch. 

“The seventh inning was the inning I pitched careful,” she said. “I shouldn’t have.” 

Game two, a 4-1 Drake victory, featured freshman Nicole Newman and Harre in the circle. 

Newman entered the game with a MVC leading 2.02 ERA. She earned the win on 1 run, 2 hits, 3 walks and 11 strikeouts. 

Harre suffered the loss in 1.2 innings pitched. She finished with 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. 

In the first inning, a Bulldogs two-out rally plated the first run of the game. Senior first baseman Laura Brewer singled and reached second on an error. She scored on a Nybo RBI double. 

Drake added two more runs in the second on a freshman second baseman Kelsey Wright 2-RBI triple. Harre was then pulled for freshman Savanna Dover. 

Dover kept the Salukis off the board until the fifth on a Brewer home run. Dover finished the no decision with 1 run, 2 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts through 5.1 innings pitched. 

Patterson scored the only Saluki run with a solo home run in the seventh inning. 

Blaylock said the outing was exactly what she expected from Newman. 

“She’s good. She’s really good,” Blaylock said. “They have the No. 1 pitching staff in the conference.” 

In game three Drake left no doubt in a 11-0 victory. The Bulldogs pounced on Bertelsen early and batted around the order in the first inning collecting 4 runs on 2 hits. 

Bertelsen was pulled from the game after recording only one out, allowing 4 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks. Dover came into the game with the bases loaded and hit the first batter faced on her first pitch. 

Drake proceeded to score a run in every inning, including a sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Finneran grand slam in the fifth inning to make the game 11-0. 

Finneran finished 1-for-1 with 1 run scored, 6 RBIs and 3 walks. 

The Salukis used all four of their pitchers in the game with Bertelsen and Harre both pitching less than a full inning. The four pitchers combined for 10 earned runs on 7 hits, 13 walks, 3 hit batters and 4 strikeouts. 

Blaylock said the team needs to get going with 12 MVC games remaining. 

“I believe in them,” she said. “They’re competitive, they’re not going to lay down and die.” 

The Salukis travel to Evansville for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

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

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