March 24, 2010
By Beth Miller
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois stepped away from conference play to host Tennessee-Martin in a midweek doubleheader at Charlotte West Stadium on Wednesday.
The Salukis (19-11) split on the day, dropping the first game, 4-2, in a tough battle against the Skyhawks (21-4). But SIU came out swinging in the second game, scoring nine runs, the most allowed by UT-Martin this season. The 9-3 victory, snaps a losing streak against the Skyhawks, as UT-Martin had won the last four meetings against Southern
Game 1 - Tennessee-Martin 4, Southern Illinois 2
Mallory Duran was hit by the pitch from Kate Vanderham, taking her base to lead off the bottom of the first inning. A single up the middle from Alicia Garza followed by an infield hit by Allie Hanson would load the bases for senior Katie Wilson. Wilson would reach on a fielder's choice, as Duran was tagged out at home to the end the inning scoreless.
UT-Martin put three runs on the board in the top of the third inning, giving the Skyhawks an early lead over the Salukis. They would try to do it again in the top of the fourth, as UT-Martin loaded the bases with two outs. Courtney Kennedy would save the inning, catching a pop up in foul territory, preventing the Skyhawks from extending their lead.
SIU came to life in the bottom of the fifth inning, getting two runners on base, both of which would score off an RBI double from Chelsea Held. The Salukis were able to close the gap, now trailing by only one run, 3-2.
Both teams would remain quiet through the final inning, as the Skyhawks won game one of two with a 4-2 edge over SIU. UT Martin was only able to strike out two batters, the first strikeout coming in the sixth inning. Danielle Glosson was handed the loss, dropping to 10-7 on the season. Glosson was able to strike out six batters, allowing only four runs from the Skyhawks who average eight runs per game.
Held hit her 13th RBI of the season, to drive in both of SIU's runs against the Skyhawks in game one. Garza recorded one hit, which is good for her 190th career hit, she paces the Valley in all-time career hits.
"They are 21-3 for a reason," head coach Kerri Blaylock said. "They are very aggressive and hit the ball hard. They did a good job kind of figuring out Danielle [Glosson]."
Game 2 - Southern Illinois 9, Tennessee-Martin 3
SIU fought back early in the second game of the day, looking to break an all-time four-game losing streak against UT-Martin. Mallory Duran reached on an error, followed by a stolen base to occupy second. Alicia Garza stepped up with an RBI double, driving in Duran for a 1-0 lead. Garza leads the team with 23 RBI and six doubles on the season. Katie Wilson extended the lead with a powerful shot well over the center field wall, marking her sixth home run of the season and giving SIU a 3-0 lead. Wilson's homerun was only the sixth home run UT-Martin has allowed this season.
Freshman Michelle Bradley pinch hit for Courtney Kennedy, leading off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single to right center. Kennedy reentered and took first to run for Bradley. Kennedy proceeded to steal second and reached third on a passed ball. Duran came up with the RBI to give SIU a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
UT-Martin did not stay silent for long, putting two runs on the board in the top of the fifth. Both runs were brought in by an RBI double from Megan Williams who was hitting .371 on the season heading into Wednesday's doubleheader.
SIU would answer in dramatic fashion, putting three more runs on the board in the bottom of the inning. UT-Martin's Chelsea Jones walked just her sixth batter of the season, as Wilson took her base in the bottom of the fifth. Natalee Weissinger decided to put a couple of insurance runs on the board, hitting her second homerun of the season. Arizona transfer Corinna Gonzalez followed suite, hitting her first homerun as a Saluki to give SIU a comfortable 7-2 lead.
UTM put another run on the board in the top of the sixth, but SIU come back to answer in the bottom of the inning. Chelsea Held hit her first career triple, driving in Garza from first for an 8-3 lead. Wilson grabbed her 19th RBI of the season with a double to center field, Held would easily score from third for a decisive 9-3 lead.
Nine runs off 11 hits, including three homeruns, propelled the Salukis past the Skyhawks for their 19th win of the season. Wilson went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs, three RBI and one homerun. Weissinger also had an impressive performance, going 2-for-4 with two RBI from her two-run homerun.
Junior pitcher Alex Peters improved to 7-3 on the season, allowing only four runs and walking only two batters.
"Sitting at 19-11 isn't bad for where we are in the season, and we're 4-0 in conference," Blaylock said. "We just need to stay positive and keep going."
The Salukis will return to the field, and conference play, this weekend as they host Creighton. The two teams will kick off a weekend of rivalry with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon, followed by a third game on Sunday at noon.