May 12, 2007
By Matt Crouch
NORMAL, Ill. - Despite out-hitting Creighton 9-8, the No. 22 Southern Illinois University softball team fell 6-2 to the Bluejays in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship game on Saturday.
The Salukis fall to 40-14 on the season and await the decision of the NCAA Selection Committee in regards to next week's NCAA Regional Tournament. The selection show is scheduled to air between 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, May 13 on ESPN News.
Creighton (39-12-1) gets the Valley's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and also awaits the selection committee's decision to find out who they will play.
SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock hopes that Sunday's loss does not weigh too heavy on the minds of the selection committee and the team's entire body of work comes in to play.
"I hope that what we have done up to this weekend and especially getting to the championship and especially beating Illinois State on their home field and shutting them out opens peoples eyes," said Blaylock.
She did not make any excuses for the loss to the Bluejays, mentioning how tough it is to play in the very competitive MVC.
"The fact of the matter is our conference is very tough. You've got to come prepared to play because it's going to be a tough game in our conference every time you play somebody," said Blaylock.
The Salukis did not get any breaks in Saturday's games as Creighton, who played as the visitor and batted first, jumped on the board right away with three first-inning runs that set the tone.
The first four Bluejay batters reach base safely in the top of the first inning, scoring two runs. Creighton would score once more before the inning was over to take a 3-0 lead.
Creighton got a home run of its own in the top of the fifth inning when T.J. Eadus hit her 16 th of the season, a two-run shot to straight-away center field that extended the Bluejay lead to 5-1.
Southern was able to cut back into the lead in the bottom of the sixth, manufacturing a run.
Creighton got that run back, though, in the top of the seventh and sealed the win as Jessica Wakasugi scored on an Eadus double down the left-field line to extend CU's lead to 6-2.
Cassidy Scoggins takes the loss for Southern Illinois and falls to 21-9 on the season. She struck out three in her 4.1 innings of work, giving up a walk and five hits for four runs.
Ashley Hamby entered the game in relief for Scoggins in the fifth inning and finished the game. She struck out four while giving up a walk and three hits for two runs.
Tara Oltman (25-7), the 2007 MVC Pitcher of the Year, picks up the complete-game win for Creighton. She struck out eight, giving up no walks and nine hits for two runs.
NOTES: - The meeting was SIU's fourth in a Valley championship game and its second against Creighton in a Valley championship game... The Salukis are now 1-3 in MVC Championships... Katie Wagner, Alicia Garza and Cassidy Scoggins all earned MVC All-Tournament Team honors for their efforts this week at the Valley Tournament.