Senior Morgan Barchan
March 23, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois softball team suffered a pair of one-run losses to Northern Iowa in a doubleheader sweep Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.
The Salukis (12-15, 0-4 MVC) fell 4-3 in 11 innings in the opener before suffering a 2-1 loss to the Panthers (13-16, 3-1 MVC) in Game 2.
Sunday's series finale between the two teams has been cancelled due to inclement weather in the forecast.
Northern Iowa 4, SIU 3
Game 1 Stats
An SIU error with two outs in the 11th inning put the winning run on base, and UNI's Kristin Lock hit a walkoff double to give the Panthers the win.
SIU got on the scoreboard first with a run in the first inning. Morgan Barchan and Taylor Orsburn hit back-to-back singles to lead off the game and Allie VadeBoncouer reached on a hit-by-pitch before Michelle Bradley drew a bases-loaded walk to push across Barchan for the 1-0 Saluki lead.
SIU extended the lead to 2-0 with another run in the top of the fourth inning. Kalyn Harker reached base on a hit-by-pitch before advancing to second on Michelle Glenn's sacrifice bunt and taking third on a passed ball. Kelsey Gonzalez followed with a single to score Harker.
UNI responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run single by Caitlin Wnek to tie the game at 2-2. Wnek drove in another run in the sixth inning with an RBI double, giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
SIU was down to its final out in the seventh before Harker came up with a clutch RBI single to tie the game at 3-3. The Salukis kept the Panthers off the board in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, and the two teams went scoreless through the eighth, ninth and 10th frames.
The Panthers finally broke through in the 11th with the unearned run to end the game.
Alyssa Wunderlich picked up the loss despite allowing no earned runs on three hits with no walks and a career-best six strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Wunderlich came in during the seventh inning in relief of starter Brittney Lang, who also had a solid day. Lang gave up two earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings.
UNI starter Jamie Fisher, the MVC's returning Most Valuable Pitcher, picked up the win after striking out 10 and allowing one earned run on eight hits in 11.0 innings of work.
"She does a good job and their pitching coach does a good job calling pitches," SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said of Fisher.
Barchan was the lone Saluki to pick up multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of walks.
Northern Iowa 2, SIU 1
Game 2 Stats
Southern went scoreless through the first six innings, and couldn't come up with enough offense to rally late in the Game 2 loss.
The Panthers scored runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning before SIU finally picked up a run on a solo home run by Morgan Barchan.
Kelsey Gonzalez followed Barchan's shot with a single, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. UNI second-basemen Julia Hunter just got to Jayna Spivey's ankle-level line drive, however, to end the game.
UNI's Jamie Fisher (10-8) picked up her second win of the day after allowing just five SIU hits with three strikeouts in the nighcap. Fisher logged 18 innings for the day, throwing more than 300 pitches.
Barchan went 3-for-4 to lead the Salukis again in Game 2 while Gonzalez and Allie VadeBoncouer picked up SIU's only other hits. SIU stranded eight total runners in the second game.
"I really thought our offense had a good approach against her all day," Blaylock said. "We just shot ourselves in the foot some."
Alyssa Wunderlich (5-6) picked up another tough-luck loss despite giving up just two runs on five hits with a strikeout.
"She's been throwing well for two or three weeks," Blaylock said of Wunderlich. "If she continues to throw like that, hopefully with our offense we'll be able to win some games."
With Sunday's game called off, the Salukis will next be in action Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30 for a three-game series at Illinois State.
"We realize that we play a tough part of our schedule early," Blaylock said. "We have to kind of try to ride the tide a little bit."