Sophomore pitcher Katie Bertelsen
April 23, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Michelle Bradley's first-inning grand slam proved all the offense the Southern Illinois softball team needed as the Salukis held off a late Evansville rally for a 4-3 win over the Purple Aces Tuesday night at Charlotte West Stadium.
Southern (21-24, 9-10 MVC) loaded the bases in the bottom of the first after Morgan Barchan led off with a single and Jayna Spivey and Allie VadeBoncouer both drew walks. Bradley stepped up to the plate with two outs and sent one over the fence for SIU's program record 6th grand slam of the season.
"We've been working on being aggressive early in the count," Bradley said. "When their catcher came out and talked to their pitcher, I was thinking she was going to try to throw a strike. I was thinking I am going to get a strike, so hit it where it is pitched. "
SIU held the 4-0 advantage over the Purple Aces (19-25, 10-10 MVC) through five innings before Evansville scored one in the sixth on a solo home run by Kendall Kautz and Kayla Fortner roped an RBI triple with two outs in the seventh to cut the margin to 4-2.
Sophomore pitcher Katie Bertelsen replaced Saluki starter Brittney Lang after the triple, and the Aces pushed Fortner across on a dribbler down the third base line that Bertelsen came just short of throwing to first in time. Bertelsen coaxed a similar ball on the following batter, but made the putout to first this time to preserve the win and with it her third save of the season.
"Bertie came in and did exactly what she was supposed to do," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "To me the difference is having Bertie healthy right now. She comes in and settles us down. That is what she does."
"She came out and threw pretty well. I was really happy with her," Blaylock said of Lang. "I thought she did a good job of kind of hanging in there."
SIU has a non-conference game Thursday at Southeast Missouri State before returning home for a three-game MVC series against Bradley Saturday and Sunday.