Junior Taylor Orsburn
April 4, 2013
By Bill Ford
CHARLESTON, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois softball team couldn't get its bats going Thursday afternoon in an 8-0, run-rule loss in five innings at Eastern Illinois.
Junior Taylor Orsburn's third-inning double was the only hit SIU managed and the Salukis struck out 12 times against EIU starter Hanna Mennenga (14-4), who is among the nation's leaders in strikeouts.
"We knew she was a very good pitcher. We had scouts on her," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "I'm going to give the credit to Eastern Illinois for coming out ready to go, but I don't think she's a kid that we should let strike us out that many times."
In addition to a stagnant offense, SIU (14-18) struggled out of the gate defensively. The Salukis gave up three unearned runs in the first inning on two errors to fall into an early hole.
"I was disappointed in how we came out," Blaylock said. "I thought the errors in the first inning kind of set the tone for the game."
The Panthers (21-10) added another run in the second inning on a solo home run by Carly Willert to go up 4-0. The Salukis had their best chance to score in the top of the third when Kelsea Ashton reached on an error and Orsburn's two-out double moved Ashton to third. Mennenga coaxed a flyout on the following at-bat however, to get out of the jam.
SIU only had one more baserunner in the game when Lacey Newbold was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth. The two ensuing Saluki batters went down in order, however, stranding Newbold to end the inning.
EIU strung together four more runs on three hits and two walks in the bottom of the fourth off SIU reliever Brittney Lang, who replaced starter Katie Bertelsen to start the third inning. Alyssa Wunderlich replaced Lang to record the final out of the fourth before the Salukis went down 1-2-3 in the fifth to end the game early.
SIU will be back home for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday against Wichita State. The Salukis and Shockers will play a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday in what will be SIU's annual Strikeout Cancer event before playing a single game at noon Sunday.
"It was a disappointing day after such a good game (Tuesday) against Edwardsville," Blaylock said. "I felt that our presence against Edwardsville was so good and I hope we can come back out this weekend."