Salukis Salvage a Win at Missouri State in Series Finale, 9-5

    Shaye Harre went 3-for-4 and added two RBIs to her team-leading total.

    Shaye Harre went 3-for-4 and added two RBIs to her team-leading total.
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    March 30, 2014

    By John Lock

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    SPRINGIFIELD, Mo. - The Southern Illinois softball team (15-15, 4-4 MVC) salvaged a win against Missouri State (20-11, 3-3 MVC) on Sunday afternoon. After dropping both games of a doubleheader on Saturday, SIU's bats came to life in a 9-5 win in the series finale.

    "I challenged the kids before the game to come out with more energy and be better than they were yesterday," head coach Kerri Blaylock, who coached her 800th career game on Sunday--all of them with SIU--said. "When you wear a Saluki jersey, you need to play with a lot of pride and a lot of passion--that's why I've stayed at SIU as long as I have. They matched that today. They were great."

    Starter Katie Bertelsen got into trouble in the first and fifth innings. She allowed to hits and hit to batters in the first inning but came away allowing only one earned run. The Bears got four runs in the fifth inning on a bevy of bloop hits. Outside of those two innings, Bertelsen held Missouri State to 0-for-15 from the dish and allowed only one base runner.

    Numbers-wise, it was Bertelsen's worst performance since March 9--a span of six appearances. But she had set a high bar in those six appearances, posting a 1.44 ERA but just a 2-3 record. Today, she got the win to improve to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in MVC play.

    The Southern Illinois offense was more opportunistic than it was during Saturday's doubleheader, when SIU was 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 20 runners on base. Today, Southern was 6-for-15 (.400) with runners in scoring position today, including a 2-for-3 mark with the bases loaded.

    "She pitched another gutsy, great game on a Sunday--which is really hard to do (after throwing Saturday)," Blaylock said. "I was really proud of our offense, too, which continued to attack and put runs on the board."

    The first eight SIU batters were retired in order before Southern's bats suddenly came to life. From there, SIU hit 11-for-25 and drew three walks. Michelle Glenn started it off with a slap-bunt single. Glenn stole second and ran in front of Missouri State's shortstop on a ground ball that went through her legs and into the outfield, scoring Glenn to tie the game at 1-1.

    The Salukis pulled out to a two-run lead with two more runs in the fourth. Southern started the inning with a triple by Jayna Spivey and an infield single by Shaye Harre. Kara Kimball ran for Harre and stole second. Another ground ball through the shortstop's legs scored Spivey, and Kelsey Gonzalez hit a perfect sacrifice fly to score Lacey Newbold.

    Southern kept the momentum going in the fifth with a two-out rally. With only one on and two outs, Southern started a two-out rally with a Jayna Spivey walk, followed by a pair of RBI singles by Shaye Harre and Meredith Wilson. After an Allie VadeBoncouer walk, Kelsey Gonzalez came through with another two-out single to extend the SIU lead to 6-1.

    Missouri State got four runs in the bottom of the fifth to get back within 6-5. The Bears didn't hit the ball hard, but they hit the right spots, with a pair of those hits being bloops right on the foul lines.

    But Southern came right back with three runs in the sixth. Jayna Spivey extended her school record for career RBIs with a pair on a bases loaded single, and Shaye Harre got her second RBI of the game with a double.

    The win prevented Missouri State's first ever three-game series sweep over the Salukis, but the Bears did get their first three-game series win over the Salukis since 2006.

    UP NEXT: The Salukis are at home against Murray State on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. game, followed by a trip to Edwardsville on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. first pitch with SIUE.