SIU on four-game winning streak

SIU on four-game winning streak

By Tony McDaniel

The Salukis pulled off a sweep in Wednesday’s double-header against the Purple Aces of Evansville University, scoring 21 runs in two games.

SIU (21-19, 9-7) carried over its momentum from the series against Bradley University during the weekend to Wednesday’s set of games against Evansville (16-25, 4-12).

The Women performed strongly at the plate in the mid-week clash with their Missouri Valley Conference rivals, with a 9-4 win in game one and 12-4 win in the second game.

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Coach Kerri Blaylock said she was pleased with her team’s patience.

“I feel like our kids have a really good eye at the plate,” she said. “I thought they did a really good job getting their pitch to hit.”

In the bottom of the third inning of game one, the Salukis trailed the Purple Aces 2-0 when sophomore Kelsey Gonzalez hit a RBI single to pull SIU within one run. Two batters later, senior Allie VadeBoncouer cleared the bases with a three-run home run to give the Salukis a 4-2 lead.

Gonzalez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth and started another rally when she hit her second RBI single of the day.

Senior Taylor Orsburn stepped to the plate after Gonzalez and crushed a ball over the scoreboard in right field for a grand slam to give SIU a 9-2 lead. It was Orsburn’s second grand slam of the season.

Evansville would score two runs in the top of the seventh inning, but the comeback fell short and the Dawgs took the win.

“The thing I’ve noticed the last two games, at Bradley and these two games, is our energy,” Blaylock said. “I feel like we have energy in the dugout, and I feel like we have energy on the field. Some of our underclassmen have given us a spark, so it’s been really good.”

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In game two, the Salukis would earn their fourth straight win thanks in part to Evansville’s pitchers committing 11 walks.

The Salukis biggest inning of game two came in the second while they were trailing by four runs. The Salukis scored six times off of just two hits and one error to take a 7-4 lead.

Two innings later, Orsburn took a bases-loaded walk to give SIU an 8-4 lead. The RBI was the 132nd in Orsburn’s career, which gave her sole position of second place on SIU’s all-time RBI list behind her teammate, senior Jayna Spivey.

“It’s awesome, but I always want to support Jayna,” Orsburn said. “She’s doing a great job and she deserves [the record].”

While Orsburn reached a milestone with her hitting, she also made her first career start as a pitcher.

Orsburn threw a complete game to the Purple Aces allowing four earned runs on 10 hits.

Orsburn said she was surprised to learn she was starting.

“I wouldn’t say I felt any pressure starting,” Orsburn said. “It kind of stressed me out since I hadn’t been on the mound in so long, but once I get going and I know my pitches are working then I start to get more comfortable.”

The sweep of Evansville gave SIU its first four-game wining streak of the season and improved itsrecord in conference to 9-7.

The Salukis will look to extend their winning streak at 3 p.m. Friday at Charlotte West Stadium against Loyola University Chicago for a three-game series.

Tony McDaniel can be reached at [email protected], @tonymcdanielDE or at 536-3311 ext. 282

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