Senior pitcher Brittney Lang
April 10, 2013
By Bill Ford
MARTIN, Tenn.-- The Southern Illinois softball team couldn't capitalize on early scoring opportunities and the bats went cold for the Salukis late in a 5-4 loss to UT Martin in 11 innings Wednesday evening.
Southern (16-20) pounded out nine hits in the first four innings, but tallied just three runs in that timeframe while stranding nine runners. SIU's offense went stagnant after the initial flurry, with one run and no hits in the remaining seven innings.
"We didn't get a hit after the fourth inning, and to me that was the difference in the game," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "We just left the bases stranded and didn't make adjustments off of a couple of their pitchers that don't get many innings. That part is very disappointing."
SIU started the game in a 1-0 hole after giving up a solo home run to UTM's Kayla Wade in the first inning. The Salukis responded in the second inning with an RBI double by Michelle Bradley and an RBI single by Morgan Barchan to give SIU a 2-1 lead.
The Skyhakwks (28-11) struck back in the third inning with a two-run homer by Kenzi Tate, but Southern again came up with an answer in the fourth as Barchan doubled, advanced to third on an error and scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3.
After a scoreless fifth inning, UTM reliever Morgan Lewis walked SIU's first three batters to open the sixth, and Taylor Orsburn hit a sacrifice fly to put the Salukis up 4-3. Lewis, who came into the game after not having seen any action in nearly a month, went on to retire the next 11 SIU batters she faced.
The two teams went through three scoreless extra innings before the Skyhawks' Becca Williams came up with a game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning to score UTM's free runner from second. SIU got its free runner to third with one out in the top of the 11th, but UTM's second reliever, Autumn Glenn, coaxed popouts from SIU's next two batters.
Glenn (2-1) took the win while Brittney Lang (8-10) suffered the loss for SIU, despite tossing 6.2 strong innings in relief of starter Alyssa Wunderlich. Lang gave up just one earned run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
"Our pitchers threw probably as good as they have thrown in a long time against a very good offensive team," Blaylock said.
Barchan went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored to lead the SIU offense while Bradley and Orsburn also picked up two hits apiece.
SIU will be back home for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series Saturday and Sunday at Charlotte West Stadium. The Salukis and Bears will play a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday with the series finale starting at noon Sunday.