Salukis run-rule Miami (OH), lose close one to Kansas on first day of Coach B Classic

    Senior Taylor Orsburn was 4-for-6 in both games on Saturday.

    Senior Taylor Orsburn was 4-for-6 in both games on Saturday.
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    March 1, 2014

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    By Tyler Wooten

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Saluki softball split in games versus Miami (Ohio) (W, 9-0 (5)) and Kansas (L, 4-0) at Day One of the Coach B Classic on Saturday.

    Game One versus Miami (3-7) proved to be another offensive showcase for Southern (6-7), but SIU's bat's cooled off quickly after running into Kansas (10-5) and starting pitcher Kelsey Kessler -- who gave up two hits and struck out eight Salukis en route to victory.

    "The first game today was fantastic," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "(Katie Bertelsen) pitched very well, and we were very good on offense and defense.

    "In the second game, (Alyssa Wunderlich) did not get off to a very good start," Blaylock said. "But what we did, we settled down defensively. I thought we had really good at-bats, but I have to give credit to (KU starting pitcher Kelsey Kessler) -- she is very, very good. She threw a very good game. Whenever we would start to string a couple good at-bats together, she would shut us down."

    Game One
    Southern Illinois 9, Miami (Ohio) 0 (five innings)

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    For the second straight weekend, the Salukis (6-6) won on a run-rule after they blanked Miami (Ohio) (3-6), 9-0, in five innings.

    Southern didn't waste any time on offense as the visiting team, striking first with a two-run home run by Caylee Cook (1-for-2, 2 RBI, HR) in the top of the first inning that scored senior Taylor Orsburn (2-for-3) -- who led the game off with a single.

    SIU scored the bulk of its runs in a monster third inning that saw five Saluki runs cross the plate. Senior Allie VadeBoncouer (2-for-2, 3 RBI, 2B) hit a bases-loaded, two-run single that scored Jayna Spivey (1-for-3) and Kara Kimball, which was followed by an RBI groundout by Kelsea Ashton and a two-run single by sophomore Taylor Harris (1-for-2, 2 RBI).

    VadeBoncouer helped bolster the Saluki lead with an RBI double in the fifth inning that scored Michelle Glenn (1-for-1, SB), who stole second base to set up VadeBoncouer's success. VadeBoncouer is currently third on the team with a .269 batting average and first on the team with a .486 on-base percentage. This was the seventh-straight game she has reached base, a streak that was snapped in SIU's second game against Kansas.

    Junior Katie Bertelsen kept the Redhawks at a wide berth by throwing a five-hit shutout in her five complete innings pitched -- two of which came in her final frame tossed. Bertelsen has been lights out as of late, giving up only two runs in her past 12.1 innings pitched.

    "She's throwing outs," Blaylock said. "She's getting ahead in the count. She's able to throw her pitches and getting kids to do what she needs them to do. A lot of ground ball outs, a couple strikeouts here or there. She's doing a great job."

    Game Two
    Kansas 4, Southern Illinois 0

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    The Jayhawks (9-5) came into the Coach B Classic with two bonafide aces, and Southern 's(6-7) offense ran into a wall versus KU starter Kelsey Kessler. Kessler, who owns one of two no-hitters on Kansas' current roster, gave up two hits to SIU's Orsburn the first two times she faced her but never allowed another Saluki hit the remainder of the game.

    SIU starter Alyssa Wunderlich worked out of jams in the first two frames, but Kansas scored two runs and knocked her out of the game in the top of the third inning. Orsburn came on in relief but gave up a two-run homer three batters later.

    However, the combination of Orsburn and Bertelsen -- who came on in relief with two outs in the fifth inning -- kept Southern within striking distance. The power pitching of Kessler proved to much to match, though, as the Salukis only managed two runners on base against her after Kansas' big third inning.

    Orsburn, who finished the day 4-for-6 with a run scored, currently leads Southern with 11 hits in 42 at-bats (.262) this season.

    "Taylor is not a prototypical leadoff hitter, but she has come in and really helped us because we've struggled in that position and she did a really good job today," Blaylock said.

    Southern plays Miami again Sunday at 1 p.m. CST, followed by Murray State at 3 p.m.