Sophomore Kalyn Harker
April 14, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- Jayna Spivey's second walkoff hit in as many days gave the Southern Illinois softball team a 5-4 win over Missouri State in nine innings Sunday afternoon, and with it a 3-0 series sweep of the Bears.
Spivey, who hit a walkoff grand slam to beat the Bears in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader, hit a two-out RBI single to break the 4-4 tie in the ninth inning. The win helped SIU (19-20) move to 7-6 in the MVC, which puts SIU into a tie for third in the league. MSU fell to 15-24 and 6-8 in the MVC.
"I'm tired of winning two and dropping one," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "It was good to win three in a row."
SIU struck first in the game as Kalyn Harker doubled in the first inning and Taylor Orsburn drove her in with a sacrifice fly to put the Salukis up 1-0. The Bears responded with a run in the top of the second, but SIU scored again in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Harker to go back up 2-1 after two.
The Salukis went scoreless over the remaining five innings of regulation, however, stranding a combined seven runners in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. The Bears tied the game 2-2 in the sixth, but starter Brittney Lang minimized the damage by stranding three Bears to end the inning.
After a scoreless seventh, MSU scored two runs on three hits in the eighth to go up 4-2, but the Salukis bounced back to end a five-inning scoreless drought with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Morgan Barchan singled and Harker advanced her safely to second on a fielders choice before Allie VadeBoncouer knocked single to score both runners.
MSU loaded the bases with one out on three consecutive hits in the top of the ninth before Harker came up with a few big putouts in center field to strand all three Bears.
"Again, to me it starts with pitching and defense," Blaylock said. "I thought Brittney did a heck of a job again today. (MSU) had great offensive statistics coming in."
Kelsey Gonzalez got a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth followed by a single from Barchan to move her into scoring position. After a Harker popout, Spivey roped a two-out shot into center field to score Gonzlez for the win. MSU had walked Spivey on four of her previous five at-bats, but the Bears didn't have a choice but to pitch to SIU's slugger late in the game.
"You can't do it the entire game," Blaylock said. "When Allie (VadeBoncouer) stepped up big and got that single to score two. And you've got Taylor (Orsburn) behind her. We struck the ball really well."
Three Salukis picked up multiple hits on the day as Harker went 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs while Barchan went 3-for-5 with a run and Spivey finished the day 2-for-2 with the game winner. Lang (10-10) picked up the win after allowing four runs on 11 hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 9.0 innings, her longest outing of the season.
SIU embarks on a five-game MVC road swing next week with a midweek doubleheader Wednesday at Evansville and a three-game series Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21 at Creighton.
"We're able to play with a lot of people if we can stay levelheaded and stay under control, and kind of don't lose our minds," Blaylock said. "Missouri State is doing very well in the conference and is an extremely good offensive team that I think our kids handled very well."