Jayna Spivey had an RBI in each game, pushing her to within three RBIs of SIU's career RBI leaders.
March 22, 2014
Note: The final game of the series between SIU and Drake will be played at 1 p.m. CST on March 23 instead of 12 p.m. CST as originally scheduled
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois softball team swept Drake in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Charlotte West Stadium and evened its MVC record at 2-2. SIU pitching forced 13 scoreless Drake innings in the 14 innings of action.
Most importantly, the Salukis got a pair of wins while going through what head coach Kerri Blaylock referred to as "the gauntlet" part of the schedule. SIU was ranked fourth in the preseason MVC poll, and its first four series are against the four other teams that join the Salukis in the top half of the preseason poll. After two hard-fought one-run losses to unanimous preseason favorite UNI last weekend, the Salukis (12-12, 2-2 MVC) got back to .500 both overall and in the Valley with a pair of three-run wins today against a team picked to finish ahead of them.
"I wasn't upset that we lost (last weekend against UNI); I was upset that we didn't get a win for our kids, because they played so hard," Blaylock said. "I just told them, 'You're not going to play like that all the time; but if you play like it 90 percent of the time, you're giving yourself a chance to win.'"
The Salukis did exactly that on Saturday, controlling both games from start to finish. Southern got three runs in the third inning in the opener, which was more than enough for starter Katie Bertelsen. Bertelsen pitched her second gem in as many games, tossing a complete-game shutout. She allowed only four hits over seven shutout innings and held the top four batters in Drake's lineup to a combined 0-for-12 mark in the opener. Last weekend, Bertelsen gave up only one earned run in 10 innings against UNI. In her two MVC appearances, Bertelsen has a 0.41 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit just .182.
Taylor Orsburn took over the pitching duties for the Salukis in the second inning of the second game and was nearly flawless. Orsburn scattered three hits over six innings and didn't issue a walk to keep Drake off the scoreboard.
SIU trailed only briefly in either game. After taking a 2-0 lead, Drake struck for three runs in the bottom of the second inning in the second game. The Salukis promptly took the lead right back with two more runs in their next turn at bat and never looked back.
Jayna Spivey picked up an RBI in each of the two games, inching her closer to SIU's all-time RBI spot. Spivey needs three more RBIs to tie the school record and four more to break it. She has 129 in her illustrious career, three shy of Jamie Schuttek (1994-97) and Alicia Garza (2007-10), who share the record of 132.
Spivey reached base in four of her eight plate appearances, extending her career-long reaching base streak to 11 games. In that span, Spivey has hit .410 and has a .500 on-base percentage. Freshman Shaye Harre also has a .500 OPB in the last 11 games, and she provided the offense in the first game. Harre went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple and two RBIs.
The Salukis will go for the three-game sweep of Drake tomorrow at 1 p.m. CST at Charlotte West Stadium. Neither team has swept the other in a three-game series since SIU swept Drake the three-straight games in 2001.