Sophomore Meredith Wilson
March 4, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois softball team continued its hot hitting streak at home with three home runs and 12 hits in a 12-4 run-rule win over Northern Illinois Monday at Charlotte West Stadium.
The win marked the end to a successful opening homestand for the Salukis (9-8), who tallied 21 runs and hit six home runs combined in two games at the weather-shortened Coach B Classic. Southern put up those numbers despite ending both games early via the run rule.
"In Florida, everywhere we went we felt like the wind was blowing in on us. We felt like we should have had seven or eight (home runs), but we only had four," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "We thought we'd be in better shape once we got back here."
Whereas the Salukis scored a majority of their runs in the first two innings of Sunday's 9-0 win over Butler, Southern scored at least two runs in each of the five innings Monday against the Huskies.
NIU got on the board first with an RBI single by Amanda Sheppard off Saluki starter Alyssa Wunderlich. Wunderlich shrugged off the early run and went on to put up zeroes in the next two innings.
The Salukis scored two more runs in the second inning as Orsburn hit an RBI double to score Kara Kimball and Orsburn scored on an error by the Huskies' third baseman. Southern added two more in the third on a two-run home run by Morgan Barchan, her first long ball of the season.
The Huskies threatened again in the fifth inning, touching Wunderlich for two more runs on a two-run shot by Shelby Miller to draw within 9-4. Brittney Lang replaced Wunderlich and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to close out the inning.
"They are a good offensive club, so we knew they might score some runs," Blaylock said. "We needed to maintain."
Jayna Spivey blasted a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth and Kelsey Gonzalez knocked in Michelle Glenn on a sacrifice fly to end the game early. Orsburn, Barchan, Wilson and Caylee Cook each had two hits to pace the Saluki offense while Wilson led the way with 3 RBI and Orsburn scored three times.
Wunderlich picked up the win after allowing four runs on eight hits with a strikeout in 4.2 innings of work.
The Salukis look to continue their home dominance Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, as Southern hosts the Saluki Invitational. Southern will face Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois-Chicago and Wisconsin in the round robin affair.
"We have good opponents," Blaylock said of the Saluki Invite. "Wisconsin is going to be tough. We have another good RPI game there and the other three teams we have coming in can all hit the ball."