Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball splits doubleheader with Indiana State

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

Saluki baseball hosted the Indiana State Sycamores for a doubleheader to open the three-game weekend series.

Southern split the doubleheader with Sycamores (19-19, 6-7 MVC) with a 5-2 loss and a 3-2 walk-off win

Game 1 

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Bad luck struck Southern early in the opening inning as Indiana State opened with single and, in an attempt to steal second, sophomore catcher Katelyn Massa’s throw took an odd bounce off the bag, hitting sophomore second baseman Maddy Vermejan in the face.

The incident forced Vermejan off of the field, and she did not return for the remainder of the game.

With another single by the Sycamores, ISU claimed the first run of the game.

SIU answered back in the second, as sophomore first baseman Kyleigh Decker doubled to left center, and was cleaned up on a swinging bunt to tie it up at one run each.

Indiana State reestablished its lead in the third as the Sycamores put up a runner on first with a single, eventually advancing to third on back-to-back groundouts.

Then, junior third baseman Shaye Barton sent a flare over the shortstop’s head for a run and a 2-1 lead.

With two outs, the Sycamores put up back-to-back singles for another run, extending their lead to 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

ISU put up two more runs in the fifth to put them out of reach of the Salukis, who only mustered up one run in the seventh, losing the first game of the doubleheader 5-2.

Junior starting pitcher Brianna Jones (17-5) took the loss after pitching the complete game giving. She gave up nine hits, two earned runs and struck out nine.

“They got us that first game,” head coach Kerri Blaylock said. “It jolted us to reality.”

Game 2

Once again, Southern gave up the first run of the game as the Sycamores put up a double followed up by a single.

SIU found its first run in the third, loading up the bases on three straight singles followed by a sacrifice fly by Massa that tied the game at one.

After a scoreless inning for both sides, Indiana State ended the scoring drought in the fifth as its loaded the bases and drove in one on a groundout.

In the final inning, Southern put runners on second and third with a single and a double. With one swing of the bat, Massa drove one down the left field line, clearing the bases for the walk-off double. Massa finished the day 1-3 with three RBI.

“We never give up,” Massa said. “We’re always in the game.”

Jones (18-5) got the win after closing the final inning. Senior starting pitcher Savanna Dover went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and four strikeouts.

“Her pitching performance was as good as it has been all year,” Blaylock said.

SIU (22-16, 5-7 MVC) will finish off the three-game series against the Sycamores tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Sports reporter Dillon Gilliland can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DillonGilliland.

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