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    May 4, 2008

    By Kyle Herm

    PEORIA, Ill. - Senior first baseman Lauren Haas went 2-for-3 with four runs batted in to propel the Southern Illinois softball team (30-23, 15-8 MVC) past the Bradley Braves (12-27, 4-19 MVC) 5-3 in the final regular season game Sunday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park. The Salukis took all three games in the series, and went 6-2 during their final eight-game road trip.

    Haas extended her hit streak to a career-high 10 games, and had a sensational finish to the regular season, going 8-for-10 with six RBI, four runs scored, two doubles and a home run during the weekend series.

    "She (Haas) is stepping up right now, and being a gamer," head coach Kerri Blaylock said. "She's been so confident at the plate, and her approach has been very good."

    Senior outfielder Tiffanie Dismore also went 4-for-4 to tie a career-high, and fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle.

    "Tiffanie is so potent when getting on base, and is a player that can really make things happen," Blaylock said. "I'm very proud of the way she got the offense going with her slaps and steals."

    Southern Illinois jumped out of the gates early in the top of the first to take a 3-0 lead on a colossal three-run home run by Haas.

    Dismore and senior Krystal Stein led off the game with back-to-back singles to put runners on second and third with no outs for Haas, who took Bradley's starter Ashley Birdsong deep on a full count for her seventh homer of the season.

    The Bremerton, Wash. native also moved into a tie for third place all-time in career home runs with 24.

    Bradley answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run by second baseman Lauren Meister, who did not play at all in Saturday's doubleheader, to draw within a run, 3-2.



    The two runs were unearned however after Trish Kowalewski reached on one of the three Saluki errors in the game in the previous at bat to prolong the inning.

    Dismore, who went 6-for-11 in the three game series, gave the Salukis a little more breathing room in the ensuing top of the third on an inside-the-park run-scoring at bat.

    She smoked a leadoff triple into the right-field corner, and scored on an errant throw while sliding into third by the Braves' second baseman to put Southern Illinois up 4-2.

    Dismore's run proved to be crucial, after Meister clubbed her second home run of the game off SIU freshman starter Danielle Glosson in the bottom of the fifth inning to claw the Braves back within a run, 4-3.

    Following the homer, junior relief pitcher Katie McNamara entered the game for Glosson and proceeded to get the final out of the fifth, and only allow one hit in the final 2 1/3 innings to preserve the lead.

    Just like Dismore in the third, Haas gave the Salukis another two-run lead with her fourth run of the afternoon on a line-drive RBI single to left field to make the final score, 5-3.

    McNamara worked around the third Saluki error in the game in the bottom of the seventh, but closed out the game to earn her first career save.

    Glosson (9-8) picked up the win, giving up one earned run with two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, while Birdsong (9-19) took the loss after surrendering three earned runs on four hits in three innings in the circle.

    Southern Illinois finished third in the MVC regular season, and will be the No. 3 seed in the State Farm MVC Tournament held at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Ill. this week, May 8-10. SIU is set to play on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against the winner of the Missouri State versus Evansville game.

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