Saluki softball splits doubleheader with MVC-leading Shockers


Then-junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson connects on her second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field, March 5, 2016 at Charlotte West Stadium. 

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

While the scores may not entirely agree, Saluki softball will go to sleep in its Wichita hotel tonight in a better spot than it woke up in this morning.

SIU’s offense was potent all day, but split its doubleheader with the Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion Shockers, still improving its conference tournament prospects in the process.

“We played very well,” coach Kerri Blaylock said. “They won the MVC conference championship and had only lost five coming in and we had a chance to take two from them today, so that felt pretty good.”


The first game of the afternoon was a back-and-forth affair between two of the top three teams in the MVC.

After two quiet innings, Wichita State (33-19, 18-6 MVC) scored the game’s first runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run home run from senior first baseman Cacy Williams, her 13th on the year.

The next half inning, SIU (32-18, 15-10 MVC) tied it back up as sophomore second baseman Savannah Fisher hit a two-run homer of her own, her fourth this season.

These two half innings would serve as a microcosm of the whole game as the two teams matched each other almost the whole way.

Wichita responded in the fourth inning as freshman shortstop Laurie Anne Derrico hit her sixth home run of the year to make it 3-2 Shockers, to which SIU scored two runs in the top of the fifth to give SIU its first lead of the day at 4-3.

Shocker senior outfielder Brittany Fortner ended the Saluki lead with the eventual game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, leading to the final score of 5-4 Wichita State.

“The first game was a bit of a tough loss,” said sophomore infielder Sydney Jones. “Even though we lost, we were still having really good at-bats.”


The three home runs allowed by Saluki freshman starter Brianna Jones (22-11, 1.91 ERA) were the most SIU’s allowed in a single game this season. Entering today, the Salukis had given up 11 home runs all season.

Junior Kaitlyn Malone (14-6, 4.38 ERA) picked up her 14th win for the Shockers.

Between the conclusion of Game One and Game Two, Drake defeated Bradley which clinched at least a first-round bye for the Salukis in the MVC Tournament. 

Blaylock said that she had not discussed the seeding implications too deeply with the team beforehand, rather waiting to just see what the final results were after the season.

Regardless, SIU’s offense did not mess around in the second game.

The Dawgs batted through the order in both of the game’s first two innings, en route to a 11-3 victory.

Junior center fielder Merri Anne Patterson hit her sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot, to cap SIU’s four-run first inning. An inning later, freshman designated player Hanna Porter and freshman third baseman Hanna Stam picked up RBIs in SIU’s five-run second inning.

“We were just trying to take our at-bats from the first game into the second game,” Sydney Jones said. “We were pretty locked in today offensively. They threw every pitcher they had at us, so I feel we adjusted to each pretty well.”

Williams hit her conference leading 14th home run of the season in the third inning, ending a streak of 579 batters to go without a home run against sophomore pitcher Savanna Dover (9-7, 3.04 ERA).

Harre added two RBIs in the fifth, finishing off SIU’s 11 runs, tied for the third most by the team this season. The 12 team hits were tied for the second most in a game this season.

Dover picked up her ninth win, allowing the three runs but struck out six.

Overall, SIU got 21 hits on the day which is the most in a Saluki doubleheader this season.

The Dawgs currently stand in third place in the MVC standings, and can finish in third or fourth depending on Sunday’s action. Here’s how the Salukis can clinch either seed.

SIU will be the No. 3 seed with:

  • A win Sunday OR
  • A Northern Iowa loss Sunday

SIU will be the No. 4 seed with:

  • A loss AND a Northern Iowa win Sunday

The Salukis will face Wichita State at 11 a.m. Sunday in Wichita. Northern Iowa will face Bradley at noon in Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.