Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball narrowly edged by Michigan State, 2-1

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

The Saluki softball team was narrowly defeated by the Michigan State Spartans (3-6), 2-1, on Sunday morning in the final game of the Gamecock Invitational.

The game was filled with small ball, as each team featured strong pitching throughout the entire game with only eight total hits allowed.

Senior Savanna Dover toed the rubber for the Salukis in the matchup. Although she pitched three innings of two-run ball, she suffered the loss.

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MSU got things going in the top of the first inning when they singled and doubled to put runners in scoring position. An RBI groundout by junior designated hitter Lexi White followed and gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead.

Then, freshman shortstop Caitie Ladd hit an RBI single and pushed the lead to 2-0.

Dover handled the Michigan State offense in the next two innings until she found herself in a jam in the fourth inning.

After she hit a batter and saw the next reach on an error, Saluki head coach Kerri Blaylock sent out freshman Megan Brown to pitch with runners on second and third.

Brown worked her way out of the inning, as she struck out one batter and forced a groundout to end the inning.

After Brown found herself in a pickle in the top of the fifth with two runners on base, junior Briana Jones was sent in for relief duty.

Jones pitched three perfect innings to close the game. She struck out three and retired nine consecutive batters.

Southern’s bats finally came alive in the bottom half of the fifth. After sophomore second baseman Maddy Vermejan walked, sophomore catcher Katelyn Massa delivered a two-out double that scored Vermejan.

Despite SIU efforts, MSU senior pitcher Bridgette Rainey pitched a gem in her complete-game victory. Rainey struck out nine Saluki batters and held off SIU in the sixth and seventh to preserve the victory.

The Salukis (4-4) return to action on Feb. 23 when they travel to Florida Gulf Coast for the FGCU Tournament. Southern’s first game is against Wright State at 9 a.m., followed by a game against UConn at 11:15 a.m.

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

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

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