Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball loses first game, carries big lead in second of rain-postponed doubleheader

Senior+first+baseman+Shaye+Harre+reaches+to+high-five+assistant+coach+Jen+Sewell+after+her+three-run+home+run+in+the+sixth+inning+of+the+second+game+of+SIU%27s+doubleheader+with+Wichita+State+on+Sunday%2C+April+23%2C+2017+at+Charlotte+West+Stadium+in+Carbondale.+The+Salukis+won+the+game+5-4.+%28Sean+Carley+%7C+%40SeanMCarley%29
Senior first baseman Shaye Harre reaches to high-five assistant coach Jen Sewell after her three-run home run in the sixth inning of the second game of SIU's doubleheader with Wichita State on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale. The Salukis won the game 5-4. (Sean Carley | @SeanMCarley)

Senior first baseman Shaye Harre reaches to high-five assistant coach Jen Sewell after her three-run home run in the sixth inning of the second game of SIU's doubleheader with Wichita State on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale. The Salukis won the game 5-4. (Sean Carley | @SeanMCarley)

Senior first baseman Shaye Harre reaches to high-five assistant coach Jen Sewell after her three-run home run in the sixth inning of the second game of SIU's doubleheader with Wichita State on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale. The Salukis won the game 5-4. (Sean Carley | @SeanMCarley)

By Sean Carley

Although only one game of Friday’s doubleheader with Indiana State was completed — and it carried a negative result — SIU softball likely doesn’t feel too bad about its position in going into Saturday.

The Salukis couldn’t string together the clutch hits necessary to win game one, but came back strong to take a big lead late in the game while setting a program record in the process. Because of rain the game was postponed and will be continued Saturday morning after earlier in the week, the entire series was moved up a day because of forecasted weather.

The first game of the day ended up like most other series-opening games this season: a pitcher’s duel between aces.

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Sophomore Brianna Jones had another quality start in the circle for the Salukis, but still picked up the loss in a 2-1 decision for the Sycamores.

Indiana State got quite a few runners on base in the game, earning five hits and four walks off Jones, but she limited the damage all day.

SIU’s problem was the same as Indiana State’s, only to a more severe degree.

Even though the Salukis drew six walks off Indiana State starter Kenzie Ihle, once they got runners on, they couldn’t capitalize. SIU went 0-8 with runners on in the game and left five runners stranded in scoring position.

Sophomore left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg provided the only run of the game for Southern on a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score freshman right fielder Susie Baranski, who opened the game with a triple.

Indiana State took the lead two innings later on a two-RBI double from senior left fielder Erika Crissman, which would hold for the entirety of the game.

However, SIU’s offense came back with a vengeance in the second game.

After Indiana State took a 1-0 lead in the first, Southern took it back off a three-run home run from senior first baseman Shaye Harre.

The blast was a record-setting one, as it pushed Harre past Jayna Spivey for the all-time program RBI record with 149. She’s now in fifth place in Valley history in the category, 18 away from the record set by former Creighton Bluejay Amy Baker.

The offense wouldn’t stop there as SIU had two more three-run innings in the fifth and sixth.

Brandenburg scored once again, her third run of the day, on a bunt single from senior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson coupled with an error. One batter later, freshman Katelyn Massa brought home Patterson and Harre with a single of her own.

The next inning Brandenburg switched to the RBI role, singling home Savannah Fisher and then junior third baseman Sydney Jones hit a two-RBI single of her own to push the lead to 9-1.

SIU sophomore starting pitcher Nicole Doyle was able to get through 5.1 innings with allowing only three hits before the game was delayed and eventually postponed because of rain and lightning.

The game will be continued at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the final game of the series beginning shortly after the conclusion of that game.

Sports reporter Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SeanMCarley.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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