Drake sweeps Salukis to open MVC play

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    March 16, 2013

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    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois softball team suffered a two-game sweep and the hands of Drake to open Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.

    Southern (10-13, 0-2 MVC) battled back from a 8-2 deficit in the opener, but came up short in a 9-7 loss before seeing a 9-5 lead disintegrate in the final two innings of an 11-9 loss to the Bulldogs (16-10, 2-0 MVC) in Game 2.

    Game 1
    Drake 9, SIU 7
    Game 1 Stats

    The Salukis battled back from an early deficit, but were undone by four unearned runs off four errors in the opener.

    "The first game, our defense, which has been solid all year, let us down," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "The first game was frustrating to me because I feel like we gave it away."

    Drake jumped out to a 4-1 lead after two innings with SIU scoring its lone run on a solo home run by Meredith Wilson in the second inning. The opportunistic Bulldogs touched Saluki starter Brittney Lang for three earned runs on five hits in the first two frames.

    Following a scoreless third, Drake extended the lead to 6-2 in the fourth inning after scoring two more unearned runs on a Saluki error. Southern scored in the bottom of the inning on another solo home run, this time by senior Michelle Bradley.

    Drake took its biggest lead of the game in the top of the sixth inning at 8-2 with two more runs on a solo home run by shortstop Amy Pearce and another unearned run on Southern's fourth error of the game.

    The Salukis rallied with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kalyn Harker, Bradley and Kelsey Gonzalez each singled to load the bases before senior Morgan Barchan drew a walk to score Harker. Junior Taylor Orsburn followed with SIU's third grand slam of the season to pull SIU back within one run entering the final inning.

    After Drake picked up an insurance run in the top of the seventh, Southern loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning as Harker was hit by a pitch followed by singles from Barchan and Michelle Glenn. Southern couldn't push anyone across, however, as the Salukis stranded all three runners to end the game.

    Bradley was the lone Saluki with multiple hits as she went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Allie VadeBoncouer and Gonzalez both drew two walks for SIU.

    Lang picked up the loss after allowing five earned runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work.

    Game 2
    Drake 11, SIU 9
    Game 2 Stats

    Drake came back from a 9-5 deficit with four home runs in the final two innings of the nightcap for the doubleheader sweep.

    Drake got on board with a run in the top of the second inning before the Salukis took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning after Kelsey Gonzalez drove in Kara Kimball and Meredith Wilson later scored on a throwing error by the Bulldogs' catcher.

    The Bulldogs strung together four hits in the top of the third inning to bounce back with three more runs, taking a 4-2 advantage. Southern responded with six runs in the bottom of the inning as the Salukis batted through the order.

    SIU loaded the bases to star the sixth before catcher Allie VadeBoncouer drew a walk to score Morgan Barchan. Wilson followed with a two-run double, scoring Jayna Spivey and Taylor Orsburn and freshman Caylee Cook scored VadeBoncoeur on a sacrifice fly. The Salukis scored the last two runs of the inning on another throwing error on the Drake catcher and an RBI single by Michelle Bradley.

    SIU added another run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Spivey and the two teams went scoreless through the fifth.

    Drake began its rally with three runs in the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Cortney Wood and a solo shot by Rebekah Schmidt to pull within 9-7. The Bulldogs picked up four more runs in the seventh inning as Laura Brewer hit a two-run homer to tie the game and Jordan Gronewold later hit a two-run shot for the go-ahead runs.

    SIU freshman Lacey Newbold singled to open the bottom of the seventh inning, but Drake retired the next three Saluki batters in order to end the game.

    SIU starter Alyssa Wunderlich logged 5.2 innings of work, giving up seven runs on 11 hits while Katie Bertelsen pitched 0.2 innings, giving up two runs on three hits with a strikeout. The third Saluki pitcher to enter the game, senior Brittney Lang (6-8), picked up the loss after giving up the final two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings.

    "Both pitching staffs were getting hit hard," Blaylock said. "You just have to buckle in right now and get ready. You are going to have days like this, and you are going to have to try to produce offensively and figure things out."

    Wilson went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs to lead the Saluki offense while Orsburn went 2-for-4. Also for SIU, VadeBoncouer went 1-for-1 with three walks and Spivey scored twice.

    Southern looks to avoid the sweep Sunday with the series finale scheduled for noon at Charlotte West Stadium.