Jayna Spivey's game-winning double capped off a series in which she hit .800
April 6, 2014
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois softball team got a walk-off two-run double from Jayna Spivey in the bottom of the seventh inning to get a big 5-4 win over Illinois State on Sunday afternoon. The Salukis (17-17, 5-6 MVC) were in danger of getting swept in the three-game series heading into its last turn at bat, but Spivey's shot to the right-center gap scored Kelsey Gonzalez from third base and Michelle Glenn from first.
"I like being in that situation. I was praying I would get a chance to go up there," Spivey said. "I enjoy being in that moment. I've certainly failed in that moment, too, but I just like that competitiveness."
Glenn also made two huge plays in the win. With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Illinois State tried to score two runners on a single through the left side. She fired a perfect ball to home plate to gun down the second runner and keep it a one-run game. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the speedster beat out a bunt single and then scored the game-winning run all the way from first base.
SIU came out with poise a day after giving up 31 runs in a doubleheader to the Redbirds (14-21, 6-3 MVC). Both teams started the exact same lineup in game three as they did in game one of the series. Both games also started with SIU walking the first batter of the game. Instead of the five first-inning runs Southern allowed yesterday, Southern escaped the first inning allowing only a single run today. The Salukis came back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and sent the message that today's game would not end like yesterday's two run-rule blowouts.
Neither team scored in the third, fourth or fifth innings after the Redbirds tied the game at three in the second inning. Illinois State got the go-ahead run in the sixth, but SIU's Katie Bertelsen, who got the win to improve to 9-6 this year, got out of jams in both the sixth and seventh inning to keep it a one-run game.
"She's a winner; that's what she does," Sewell said. "She came out of high school and club ball winning. When we talk to her, we talk about throwing big pitches in big moments."
Spivey played an unbelievable series against the Redbirds, going 8-for-10 from the plate, which included a streak of seven-straight hits that overlapped all three games. She posted three doubles, a home run and five RBIs and boasted a 1.400 slugging percentage.
"The kid is just tough," Sewell said. "The kid does that in her whole life. That's what she does in the classroom; that's how she walks around this campus; she's a very confident player. She trusts herself and she trusts the plan. She puts in a lot of work, and it shows on the field."
The win puts SIU marks the end of a daunting first four MVC weekends for the Salukis. SIU played the other four teams picked with SIU in the top half of the MVC in the preseason poll and came out of the games with a 5-6 MVC record, keeping it in the middle of the MVC pack nearing the halfway point of the conference schedule.
Head coach Kerri Blaylock left the game after she was hit in the leg with a foul ball in the first inning. The x-ray revealed that her leg was not broken and she will be OK.
The Salukis are back in action with two midweek games at Charlotte West Stadium. The Salukis will face SEMO on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Eastern Illinois on Wednesday at 4 p.m.