Softball falls to Illinois State in MVC Championship game

    MVC Player of the Year Mallory Duran-Sellers went 1-for-3 with a walk drawn in her final game as a Saluki.

    MVC Player of the Year Mallory Duran-Sellers went 1-for-3 with a walk drawn in her final game as a Saluki.
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    May 12, 2012

    Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    By Megan Kramper

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Illinois State hit three three-run home runs in the first three innings as the Redbirds rolled over the Southern Illinois softball team, 13-3, in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.

    The Redbirds (35-21) crushed the Salukis (36-20) with the long ball as they scored the most runs ever in a championship game, putting a cap on the 2012 season.

    "I think you have to give a lot of credit to Illinois State and the way they came out today. They were swinging right off the bat and the only thing I could have maybe done differently was left Brittney (Lang) in a little bit longer to see if she could have gotten out of something early," SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said.

    Southern's pitching took a hit against a fierce Illinois State offense as the Salukis used all three pitchers in the effort. Starter Brittney Lang earned the loss, putting her overall record for the season at 11-7.

    Illinois State's Elizabeth Kay drew the first RBI of they day on a single in the first as she was followed up by Lauren Canopy who hit her first of two home runs in the game. Overall, the Redbirds smashed three home runs and had 16 hits on the afternoon.

    ISU scored four in the first, five in the second, and four in the third as SIU managed just one run in the first six innings from a Meredith Wilson RBI double.

    The Salukis didn't give up as they scored two runs in the seventh. But couldn't come anywhere close to matching the Redbirds' potent offense. Allie VadeBoncouer's final inning RBI single tied her for the single season school record for RBI with 51. She ties Katie Wilson who set the record in 2010.

    "The thing that I'm most proud of is that our kids fought until the very end and did not quit," Blaylock said. "Every inning we tried to put people on and do something so I was proud of them for that."

    The Salukis had 10 hits in the game including two hits from Wilson, VadeBoncouer, and Jayna Spivey. However, they left 11 runners on base including three in the bottom of the fourth.

    MVC Player of the Year Mallory Duran-Sellers went 1-for-3 with a walk in her final game for the Salukis. Her walk drawn was the 45th walk on the season and ties Katie Jordan in 2005 for SIU's single season record.

    Duran-Sellers also added another honor to her already impressive career, as she earned the MVC's Elite 18 award. The award honors the athlete with the highest GPA in any conference championship site.

    The 2011 Academic All-American has a 4.0 GPA in English education and will graduate in December.

    Haley Gorman and Alicia Junker both had hits to wrap up their Salukis careers as well. Kelsea Ashton also chipped in a single to start the game off in the first.

    VadeBoncouer, Spivey, and Michelle Bradley were also named to the All-Tournament team for their performances.

    It marks the fourth time the Salukis have made the championship game but failed to bring home the trophy. They have not won a tournament title since the league was change to the MVC in 1993 as they last won a Gateway Conference tournament back in 1991.

    Despite the clout surrounding the Salukis chances in tournament championship games and not having won a tournament championship herself, Blaylock said she didn't buy into all the hype coming into the game.

    "I don't think it's the tournament and I don't buy into any of that and I know we came out today loose and ready to play," Blaylock said. "I don't think it's the tournament that does it and we have a young team, they have a veteran team and we did what we could. They just outplayed us."