No. 4 seed Softball upsets No. 1 Northern Iowa in MVC semifinals

    Junior pitcher Brittney Lang threw her fourth shutout of the season in the 1-0 win over UNI Friday

    Junior pitcher Brittney Lang threw her fourth shutout of the season in the 1-0 win over UNI Friday
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    May 11, 2012

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    By Megan Kramper

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Allie VadeBoncouer hit her eighth home run of the season at the right time for the fourth-seeded Southern Illinois softball team as it upset top-seed Northern Iowa, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Friday at Charlotte West Stadium.

    VadeBoncouer launched the solo shot that made the difference in the top of the fifth to send the Salukis (36-19) to the championship game against No. 2 Illinois State (34-21) Saturday afternoon.

    Brittney Lang went six innings in her fourth shutout of the season to earn her 11th win on the year. Katie Bertelsen entered in relief in the bottom of the seventh to close the door, notching her fifth save of the season.

    "Brittney threw a great game and Bertie did a great job of coming into to close the game," SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said. "I thought we had really good at-bats off of (Jamie) Fisher all day long and Allie came up with a big hit, so it was just a really positive day."

    The game was a pitcher's duel through four innings as Lang went toe-to-toe with MVC Pitcher of the Year Jamie Fisher. Five hits total were scattered throughout the ball game, as the Salukis out hit the Panthers 3-2.

    The Salukis had the first base runner of the game in the first off a Kelsea Ashton walk, but in the next three and a half innings each team went three up, three down.  

    UNI (38-16) had its first hit in the third inning off a Mackenzie Daigh single. The Panthers struggled after that point, however, as they didn't have another base runner in scoring position after that inning and had just one hit in the remainder of the game with a sixth-inning single. 

    VadeBoncouer started the fifth with the home run followed by a single by Jayna Spivey. The sophomore duo accounted for all the Saluki hits on the afternoon as Spivey went 2-for-3. 

    Lang struck out three in the effort and allowed just two hits. That's the fewest hits she has allowed in more than five innings since Feb. 12 when she pitched a complete game against Austin Peay in a two-hit, one-run victory.

    "I like to go with my gut. I told Brittney to warm up and we would see what she was like between her and Bertie and today Brittney looked wonderful so I gave her the ball," Blaylock said.

    The win advances the Salukis to the championship game for the second time in three years.  They have appeared in the MVC championship game four previous times including 1990, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

    The Dawgs last won a conference tournament 21 years ago, almost to the date against the same opponent SIU will face Saturday. The Salukis defeated Illinois State in a 4-1 decision on May 11, 1991 in Wichita, Kan. 

    "We're just going to take it one game at a time like we've done all year and were not done yet," Blaylock said. 

    Saturday's championship game can be viewed around the country live on Fox Sports Midwest and affliates listed below with first pitch set for 2:07 p.m. with R.C. McBride and Laura Leonard calling the action. 

    Other affilates for tomorrow's championship game: FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX College Sports Pacific, Comcast SportsNetChicago, DirecTV (Channel 671), Dish Network (Channel 418), AT&T U-Verse (Channel 748) and ESPN3 outside the league's six-state footprint (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska).