Salukis fall short against Panthers

Salukis fall short against Panthers

By Tony McDaniel

In a game where the Dawgs left eight runners on base, the team fell just short against a quality Ohio Valley Conference opponent.

Eastern Illinois University (27-11) traveled to Charlotte West Stadium for a midweek matchup against the Saluki softball team (17-18).

Junior pitcher Katie Bertelsen (9-7) got the start for the Salukis. She was paired against Eastern Illinois’ pitcher Stephanie Maday (11-5), who entered the game with a 2.32 ERA and 87 strikeouts on the season.

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SIU opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when senior outfielder Michelle Glenn scored from second base on an error by EIU shortstop Bailey O’Dell. Eastern answered back in their next chance at the plate with a double to left field that scored one run and set the tone for what was a high scoring ball game.

In the third inning, EIU senior infielder Reynae Hutchinson hit a two-run home run to left field to give Eastern its first lead of the game.

Saluki sophomore infielder Kelsey Gonzalez led off the bottom of the third inning with her second home run of the season.

Both teams scored two runs in the fourth inning to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, Bertelsen allowed two runs on back-to-back hits to warrant SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock to bring in senior Taylor Orsburn to pitch.

Heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, SIU trailed by two runs.

Saluki freshman infielder Shaye Harre led off the inning with a bomb over the center field wall to cut the Panther lead to one run. Two batters later, senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer hit a ball to left field that looked as if it had the distance to tie up the game, but the ball fell into the EIU left fielder’s glove just short of a homerun.

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The Salukis would fail to get any offense going after that and gave EIU the 7-6 win.

Blaylock said despite EIU’s record, she thought SIU was the better team before the game started.

“It’s just disappointing. I thought it was a game we could win,” she said. “We started a little bit slow on the mound, but I thought we were sloppy in some areas. We let them get some runs, and we didn’t score with bases loaded again.”

With the loss, SIU’s record now sits at 17-18. Blaylock said she does not think the record reflects how her team has played this season.

“I just don’t feel we’re a .500 club,” she said. “I want [the team] these last 17 games to show what they’re made of, which is not an up and down ball club.”

SIU travels this weekend to Bradley University (17-20) for a three-game series against its Missouri Valley Conference opponent.

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

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