Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball loses series to Indiana State

By Nathan Dodd, Sports Editor

The SIU softball team turned to ace pitcher Brianna Jones to try to claim a series victory over the Indiana State Sycamores (20-19, 7-7 MVC).

Following a walk-off victory that helped the Salukis split a doubleheader on Saturday, Jones did not have her best stuff on Sunday afternoon as she allowed three runs on 11 hits and two walks in the 5-3 loss.

“On day two in game number three, they’ve seen [Jones] now,” head coach Kerri Blaylock said. “They did a really good job adjusting and we didn’t. You have to be able to make those adjustments.”

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Southern jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the first following a walk and a single that resulted in a throwing error, advancing both runners one base. Sophomore first baseman Kyleigh Decker then plated both runners with a two-RBI double for a 2-0 lead.

Held scoreless for two innings, the Sycamore cracked Jones in the third.

Following a double and a walk, freshman first baseman Amanda Guercio drove home ISU’s first run of the game on a single.

The Salukis earned that run back in the bottom of the frame as freshman center fielder Jenny Jansen was hit by a pitch.

Then, Decker smoked her second double of the game to right field and pushed the lead to 3-1. The first baseman finished the game 2-3 with three RBI.

“I think I was trying to make an adjustment of just hitting in through the middle,” Decker said. “I think all that work and practice has been working for me.”

After ISU forced Jones from the game in the sixth, senior Savanna Dover took the rubber with a runner on second base.

The Sycamores used two sacrifices to manufacture a run before junior center fielder Bailey Martin laced an RBI double to center that tied the game at three.

In the seventh, Jones replaced Dover on the mound following a walk. Jones was welcomed by Guercio, who plated the go-ahead run on a double.

Up 4-3, Indiana State scored again on a snap throw to third base that prompted the runner to try stealing home. On the ensuing play at home, Guercio beat the throw to the plate, scoring ISU’s fifth run.

The Sycamores’ pitching shut Southern down for the remainder of the game as freshman Arielle Blankenship came in and closed the door for the save.

“It’s tough,” Decker said. “You think you have it in the bag but nothing is ever guaranteed. I think it’s a learning lesson for all of us to finish a game and get on a roll here.”

Dover (4-11) took the loss for the Salukis in one inning of work. She allowed two runs on two hits and a walk.

Freshman Abbey Kruzel earned the win for the Sycamores through 3.2 innings of two-hit softball.

SIU (22-17, 5-8 MVC) will travel to Springfield, Missouri on April 18 for a doubleheader with Missouri State. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.

“You need to take game one at Missouri State and try to go one game at a time,” Blaylock said. “You can’t hope something’s going to go away, you have to play hard and play mistake free.”

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

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

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