Kelsey Gonzalez hit her fourth sacrifice fly of the season and also had a home run for SIU.
April 9, 2014
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois softball team (17-18) lost to Eastern Illinois (27-11) on Wednesday afternoon at Charlotte West Stadium, 7-6. Southern got within one run three times throughout the game but couldn't get the clutch hit to tie or take the lead.
"I thought it was a game we could win," head coach Kerri Blaylock said. "We started a little bit slow on the mound, but I thought we were sloppy in some areas and let them get some runs, and we didn't score with bases loaded."
Southern took a quick one-run lead in the bottom of the first inning when Michelle Glenn scored on an error, but Eastern responded with two runs in the second and another in the third to take a 3-1 lead. From there, SIU fought back to get within 3-2, 5-4 and 7-6, but it couldn't get over the hump with EIU scoring in four-straight innings from the second through the fifth. The Salukis countered with runs in five of the seven innings but never tied the game or took the lead after the first inning.
Southern left eight runners on base and batted 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon. In the third, SIU had a runner on second with one out but stranded Michelle Glenn. With a chance to take the lead in the fourth with runners on second and third, SIU stranded both. With the same situation in the fifth, Southern got the same result.
Down two runs in the sixth, the Salukis stranded another runner in scoring position. Shaye Harre led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to bring it within a one-run game for the third time, but that's where the scoring stopped for SIU. Southern fell to 2-8 in one-run games this year.
The Panthers made their own breaks to earn their 27th victory of the year. EIU didn't hit the ball hard, hitting only two extra-base hits, but it placed its eight singles in the right spots. Outfielder Jenette Isaac robbed a hit from Jayna Spivey with a diving catch and made a bobbling catch on the warning track in the seventh inning on a ball that appeared to get lost in the sun.
Kelsey Gonzalez played well hitting in the No. 9 hole. She hit a solo home run to start the third inning and hit a sacrifice fly to score another run. Gonzalez went 1-for-2 to raise her season batting average to .318, and her sacrifice fly was her fourth of the year. Entering the game, Gonzalez was ranked No. 29 nationally with three sacrifice flies this year as of the last NCAA stats report on Monday.
With the loss, Southern dropped to 17-18 on the year and stayed within a game on either side of .500 for the 13th-straight game. The Salukis have hovered around .500 all season, never winning or losing more than three-straight games.
"I just don't feel we're a .500 club, a mediocre club," Blaylock said. "I want them these last 17 games to show what they're made of, which is not an up-and-down ballclub."