Senior pitcher Brittney Lang
May 1, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois softball team suffered a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to Illinois in eight innings Wednesday in the Salukis' final home game of the regular season.
The Salukis (24-26) and the Fighting Illini (20-25) were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation before Illinois struck for two unearned runs in the eighth to pull out the win.
"It's just too many situations where we don't make enough adjustments at the plate to punch some runs in," said SIU associate head coach Jen Sewell.
Southern scored first in the game without ever recording a hit. The Salukis drew two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases in the first inning before Meredith Wilson drew another walk to move home Jayna Spivey, putting SIU up 1-0.
Illinois answered with two runs in the top of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead before Kelsea Ashton came up with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame to knot the game at 2-2.
The two teams went scoreless through the final five innings of regulation as both teams squandered scoring opportunities. Each team left six runners on base in the third through seventh innings as SIU stranded 12 runners in the game and Illinois stranded 11.
Illinois put its first two runners of the eighth inning on with a walk and an SIU error, and SIU replaced starter Brittney Lang with Katie Bertelsen. Illinois scored on a sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder's choice before Bertelsen got out of the inning with two runners on.
"We were on the game plan until it came to RBI situations," Sewell said. "We were expecting (Gay) to throw one down the middle to us. She wasn't going to do that. She is the kind of pitcher you have to wear down, and we didn't get that done with runners on."
Lang (12-15) suffered the loss despite allowing just two earned runs on eight hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
SIU will close out the regular season Satuday and Sunday as the Salukis travel to Indiana State for a three-game set against the Sycamores.