Sophomore pitcher Alyssa Wunderlich.
April 7, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois softball team dropped its series finale with Wichita State 6-2 Sunday afternoon at Charlotte West Stadium.
Despite the loss, the Salukis (16-19, 4-6 MVC) finished the weekend with the 2-1 series win after Saturday’s sweep of the Shockers (15-20, 6-5 MVC). After starting 0-4 in the Missouri Valley Confernece, SIU has gone 4-2 and won two consecutive conference series.
SIU struggled Sunday against Wichita State starter Katie Armagost (4-13), whom Southern defeated in Saturday’s series opener.
“I thought Armagost threw better,” said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. “I thought her changeup got over the plate. Yesterday she wasn’t throwing her changeup well and it wasn’t getting us off stride. Today, it took us a little bit longer to get on her.”
SIU went scoreless through the first four innings while Wichita State scored two each in the second and third innings off Saluki starter Brittney Lang before scoring one run off reliever Katie Bertelsen in the top of the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. The Shockers scored four of their first five runs with two outs.
“I think the difference in the game is that they scored five runs with two outs,” Blaylock said. “I don’t think anyone (pitched) bad, it was just the accumulated effect of those two-out hits that really got us.”
It was the Salukis who came up with some clutch two-out offense in the bottom of the fifth. WSU retired SIU’s first two batters in the fifth before Taylor Orsburn and Jayna Spivey both drew walks and Allie VadeBoncouer hit a fielder’s choice with all runners reaching safely to load the bases. Meredith Wilson followed with a two-run single to account for SIU’s only runs in the game.
The Shockers added another run in the sixth inning off Alyssa Wunderlich, SIU’s second reliever of the game. Wunderlich pitched a solid 3.0 innings of relief, allowing just one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The sophomore hurler pitched out of a no-outs bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning.
“Alyssa has a full compliment of pitches. All she needs is to have confidence in herself to throw those in big moments,” Blaylock said.
Lang (8-9) suffered the loss after allowing four runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work. SIU finished with six hits in the game as no Salukis posted multiple hits.
SIU will have a non-conference tilt Wednesday at UT Martin before returning home for another three-game MVC homestand Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14 against Missouri State.
“We won a series. Wichita was playing well. Anymore, if you win a series and you keep winning two out of three, you’ll be in good shape,” Blaylock said. “What I really want to do is have a great midweek game down at Martin. I’d like to have a great midweek game that propels us into next weekend against Missouri State.”