SIU drops three in Florida

By Tony McDaniel

Despite dropping below .500 after this weekend’s set of five games, the Salukis were still able to get production from key members of the team at the University of North Florida Osprey Invitational, in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Salukis started Friday’s game against Troy University with a .500 record, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity to give the team a winning record.

The game started off as a pitcher’s duel going scoreless until the top of the fifth inning, when Troy opened the scoring with one run. The Trojans scored four runs in the next inning off of junior pitcher Katie Bertelsen to eventually give Troy a 5-0 win.

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Assistant Head Coach Jen Sewell said even though Bertelsen was tagged with the loss, she still pitched well.

“Troy was an interesting game for us, it could have gone either way. Katie Bertelsen cruised through the first few innings, ” she said. “Then she missed a couple pitches that cost her at key times, and we really didn’t help her out defensively. After that, she got back on the mound and really settled down.”

In the second game of the day against Savannah State University, SIU got going early in the first inning when freshman Shaye Harre knocked in two RBIs on a fielder’s choice to give the Salukis an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first frame.

Harre has played in only nine games at the college level and has shown she can produce at the plate early in her career.  Harre currently sits in third on the team in RBI’s with four and is tied for first on the team with three other Salukis at six hits apiece.

The Saluki offense continued to produce as the game continued, leading to the win over the Lady Tigers 8-4.

Harre also pitches for the Salukis and earned her first win of the season against the Lady Tigers, giving up just two hits over 5.1 innings pitched. Harre’s performance came as a relief, as she struggled on the mound during the opening set of games last weekend.

“It felt good to be able to relax and settle in and be able to make sure my pitches were working the way they were supposed to,” Harre said. “It was good to just be able to go out and pitch like I wasn’t able to do last weekend.”

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In Saturday’s games SIU ran into stiff competition against Ohio University and the Osprey Invitational hosts, North Florida.

The Bobcats of Ohio sent Savannah Jo Dorsey to the circle to take on the Saluki lineup, and she did not disappoint for her team.

Dorsey threw a complete game shutout with six strikeouts in the 2-0 win over the Salukis.  Dorsey had a no-hit bid broken up in the sixth when senior Taylor Orsburn hit a single through the right side of the infield to give SIU their first of only two hits in the game.  Sewell said a large part of Dorsey’s success came from a generous strike zone.

“We’re a team that traditionally likes to work deep in the count,” Sewell said. “The problem we had in North Florida was the strike zone was pretty big…what was happening was we were taking a pitch, swinging at a pitch, then getting called looking for strike three on a pitch that looked out of the zone.”

In game four, SIU played UNF in a close game. In the sixth inning, the Ospreys blew the game wide open with a seven-run bottom of the sixth to give them a 9-3 lead.

“We had a costly error.  We were trying to be aggressive and we missed a bunt, which isn’t a big deal, but we need to continue to pitch through that,” Sewell said.  “We gave up a big hit, then after that we went down on a three-run homerun.”

The Salukis only mustered one run in the final inning to give North Florida the win 9-4.

The Salukis closed out the weekend with their fifth and final game Sunday in a rematch against Savannah State.  The Salukis outplayed the Lady Tigers yet again to a 7-5 victory.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with the Salukis trailing 5-3, senior Taylor Orsburn scored two RBIs on a fielder’s choice to tie the score 5-5.  In the bottom of the sixth, junior Meredith Wilson hit a two RBI single into left field to give the Salukis a 7-5 lead.

The Lady Tigers failed to get anything going offensively in the top of the seventh to give SIU their second win of the weekend.

After nine games, SIU’s record sits at 4-5 overall.  Sewell said the coaching staff is happy with the team’s play early in the season.

“We haven’t quite gotten the breaks that maybe some teams have gotten,” Sewell said. “I’m really proud. We’re not going to beat ourselves up about it. We’re going to move on to game number ten and really try to play 5 games next weekend very steady, and stay in our personality and what we want to do.”

The Salukis will return to Jacksonville, Fla. next weekend for five games in the Jacksonville Invitational hosted by Jacksonville University.

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

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