Blaylock gets 500th win in sweep of Saint Louis

    Head coach Kerri Blaylock

    Head coach Kerri Blaylock
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    March 21, 2013

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    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois softball team picked up a doubleheader sweep of Saint Louis Thursday at Charlotte West Stadium, giving head coach Kerri Blaylock her 500th career coaching win.

    SIU (12-13, 0-2 MVC) came from behind in both games, winning the opener 7-6 in nine innings before using a six-run fourth inning to power an 11-3 victory over the Billikens (10-11, 0-0 A10) in the six-inning nightcap.

    Blaylock, in her 14th year at SIU, improved to 500-239 overall, becoming the second coach in SIU history and the eighth in Missouri Valley Conference history to reach the 500-win mark.

    "Every time something like this happens, when you reach a milestone, all it brings is just a bunch of memories," Blaylock said. "I remember win number one like it was yesterday. Five hundred was great, and I'm glad it's here, but I told the team I would love to get to 525 or 530."

    Game 1
    SIU 7, Saint Louis 6
    Game 1 Stats

    Senior Morgan Barchan hit a walkoff RBI single in the ninth inning to help the Salukis complete the comeback win in extra innings.

    Southern trailed 5-0 after four innings, struggling against SLU's left-handed starter Brianna Lore. Lore walked SIU's leadoff batter before retiring eight straight Salukis. Southern didn't record its first hit of the game until junior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer'ssingle in the fourth inning.

    The Salukis finally got on board when Michelle Bradley led of the fifth inning with her third home run of the season. Bradley's homer sparked a four-run inning for SIU, as Kalyn Harker and Kelsea Ashton followed with back-to-back doubles and Barchan hit a two-run double later in the inning.

    "We don't see a lot of them, and we haven't this year, but when you get a lefty you have to let them go through the order one time," Blaylock said. "I went up to Michelle Bradley and I just said, `Let's have a good at-bat.' She hit a bomb and we started rolling."

    Meredith Wilson led off the sixth inning with a walk and was replaced on the base paths by Michelle Glenn. Bradley singled to move Glenn to second and Harker's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. Glenn scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-5, but the Salukis couldn't push any more runs across in the inning.

    Neither team scored in the seventh, and both teams scored their free runner in the eighth inning. SIU scored its eighth inning run on an RBI single by Harker.

    Southern held the Billikens scoreless in the top of the ninth inning before Barchan game through with the game-winning single in the bottom of the inning. Barchan finished 2-for-3 from the plate with three RBI to lead SIU while Bradley and Harker both had two hits and an RBI.

    "Morgan has been good all year," Blaylock said. "She and Michelle are having great senior years, and I hope now we are getting some leadership things taken care of."

    Alyssa Wunderlich (5-4) picked up the win after pitching 8.1 innings in relief of starter Brittney Lang. Wunderlich gave up two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts in the winning effort.

    "I think she's been consistent for a long period of time," Blaylock said of Wunderlich. "She did a very good job today."

    Game 2
    SIU 11, Saint Louis 3
    Game 2 Stats

    SIU trailed 3-1 after three innings before a six-run fourth inning powered the Salukis into the lead, and a four-run sixth helped Southern end the game early.

    SLU scored twice on Saluki starter Brittney Lang in the opening frame before the Salukis struck back with an RBI single by junior Kelsea Ashton in the second inning. Southern stranded three runners to end the second, however, and the Billikens got back a run in the third to lead 3-1.

    Harker hit her first home run of the season with a solo shot to spark SIU in the fourth inning. SIU strung together six total hits in the inning as Kelsey Gonzalez and Morgan Barchan both hit RBI singles and Allie VadeBoncouer knocked a two-run double to put SIU up 7-5.

    Southern batted through its order in the fourth and Harker came just a few feet short of her second homer of the inning as SLU center fielder Jessica Buschjost caught the Saluki sophomore's long drive just in front of the fence for the final putout of the inning.

    Following a scoreless fifth, VadeBoncouer hit another two-run double to get SIU on the board again in the sixth. Taylor Harris followed with a sac fly, and Michelle Glenn picked up a game-ending RBI single to give SIU the 11-3 run-rule win.

    VadeBoncouer finished the nightcap 2-for-4 with four RBI while Bradley, Ashton and Jayna Spivey each picked up two hits.

    Lang (7-8) went all six innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Despite struggling to start the opener and giving up early runs in Game 2, Lang finished the day strong, shutting out SLU while allowing just one hit in the final three innings.

    "Brittney is her own worst enemy. She is really hard on herself," Blaylock said. "I was trying to help her put herself in a good position against hitters, and I thought she did that."