Salukis Fall Flat in Doubleheader Losses to Illinois State

    Jayna Spivey was one of SIU's few bright spots, going 5-for-6 and raising her season batting average to .356.

    Jayna Spivey was one of SIU's few bright spots, going 5-for-6 and raising her season batting average to .356.
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    April 5, 2014

    By John Lock

    Game 1 Box | Game 2 Box | Photo Gallery

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois softball team fell flat in every phase of the game on Saturday afternoon, dropping both games of a doubleheader in five innings by the scores of 20-2 and 11-0. The Salukis fell behind big early in both games and never recovered to make either game close.

    The Salukis (16-17, 4-6 MVC) struggled in every phase of the game. The pitching gave up 31 runs in two games to a team averaging fewer than four runs per game. The defense committed four combined errors, leading to 10 unearned runs over the two games. And the offense hit just .268 on a Redbird pitching staff that had given up 29 runs over the last four games. If you take out Jayna Spivey's 5-for-6 day, the offense hit just .171 on the day.

    "You just have to flush this down the toilet," head coach Kerri Blaylock said. "It's over with. There's a new day tomorrow. You just need to move on."

    The first inning of the first game gave an indication of how the day would go for SIU. Katie Bertelsen walked the first batter of the game, and Kelsea Ashton threw to second on Illinois State's subsequent sacrifice bunt attempt, but the throw was late. Another walk loaded the bases before an out was recorded. All three runs came around to score plus two more, and Illinois State (14-20, 6-2 MVC) had a 5-0 lead before SIU's first turn at bat.

    Southern's pitching walked 14 batters between the two games--eight in the first game and six in the second game. SIU pitching had surrendered just 15 walks in the nine previous games combined.

    "When we're walking (that many) kids, that's very unlike us," Blaylock said. "We talked about it. We have some adjustments. You have to give Illinois State some credit for hitting the pitches where they were."

    SIU's only two runs came on an Allie VadeBoncouer home run in the fourth inning of the first game. Southern's offense was more alive in the second game, loading the bases three times in five innings, but left 11 runners on base. In the two games combined, SIU left 16 runners on base, compared to only 13 for the Redbirds, who put up 31 runs.

    "We left the bases loaded three times in this last game," Blaylock said. "If you get some hits, it's a different ballgame. You're back in the game. When they throw up some crooked numbers like that up early, it affects our offense a little bit probably."

    VadeBoncouer and Jayna Spivey were the only two bright spots for the Salukis. Spivey went 5-for-6 and raised her batting average to .356 on the year. Spivey has now been on a 20-game tear in which she has hit .424. VadeBoncouer took her 66th career hit by pitch--one away from tying for second in NCAA history--on her way to reaching base four times in five plate appearances.

    "We're all sick," Blaylock said. "You hate getting beat like that because you're a competitor, but that doesn't define who we are. We're going to define who we are, and we need to worry about tomorrow's games now."

    The Salukis will try to salvage a Sunday win when the series concludes with a Noon series finale tomorrow at Charlotte West Stadium.