Senior Michelle Bradley
April 17, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois softball team dropped a doubleheader to Evansville on the road Wednesday at Cooper Stadium.
The Salukis (19-22, 7-8 MVC) struggled on defense in an 8-7 loss in the opener before the offense went cold in a 4-2 loss to the Purple Aces (17-24, 8-8 MVC) in the nightcap.
“It seems like in the games we are dropping, just one piece of the puzzle has been missing,” said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. “We want to try to clean that up.”
Evansville 8, SIU 7
Game 1 Box Score
SIU’s seventh-inning rally fell just short as the Salukis couldn’t overcome several defensive miscues. Southern tied a season high with four errors and allowed two earned runs in the one-run loss.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Blaylock said. “Four errors can’t do it. It just can’t happen on the road.”
UE jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings, scoring two each in the first two innings and another in the fifth. Southern finally got on the board in the top of the fourth with a 2-run single by Kelsea Ashton to cut the advantage to 5-2.
The Aces extended the margin back to four runs with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth on a strange two-error play by the Salukis. Evansville’s Victoria Dellorto singled, advanced to third on an error and scored on defensive interference call.
Southern scored two more runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run double by Taylor Orsburn, but the Aces answered with two more in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-4 run into the seventh inning.
Senior Michelle Bradley came up with a big two-out, three-run home run in the top of the seventh to cut the Aces advantage to one run, but UE starter Sarah Patterson coaxed a groundout on the next batter to halt SIU’s rally.
Bradley finished 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Saluki offense in the loss while Orsburn went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Brittney Lang (10-11) suffered the loss after allowing eight runs, six earned on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 6.0 innings.
Evansville 4, SIU 2
Game 2 Box Score
Southern squandered some scoring opportunities in the middle innings and couldn’t answer a third-inning grand slam as Evansville completed the doubleheader sweep to assure its first series win over the Salukis since 2002.
The Salukis scored first with an RBI fielder’s choice by Michelle Bradley in the top of the first. After a scoreless second inning, the Purple Aces stormed in front 4-1 on Kayla Fortner’s grand slam.
Southern kept Evansville off the board for the remainder of the game, but the Salukis couldn’t come up with any run support. The Salukis stranded three runners to end the fourth before coming up empty after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth.
SIU scored on a passed ball in the seventh inning and loaded the bases with two outs, but the Salukis couldn’t push anyone else across.
“We didn’t really get it done on offense,” Blaylock said. “We left some people on base.”
Alyssa Wunderlich (6-9) took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 6.0 innings. SIU finished with just four hits in the game with no player recording multiple hits.
SIU continues a five-game MVC road swing Saturday and Sunday with a three-game series at first-place Creighton.
“At this point in the season, you know that everybody you play, you just have to be ready,” Blaylock said. “You just have to get back out there and get back after it.