Salukis host Saint Louis in Thursday doubleheader

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    Junior Jayna Spivey
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    March 19, 2013

    Southern Illinois (10-13, 0-2 MVC) vs. Saint Louis (10-9, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
     Date Thursday, March 21
     Time 2:30 p.m. (DH)
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - Charlotte West Stadium
     Radio Streaming online at Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Game 1 Game 2
     Social Media @SIU_Softball

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois9  
    Saint Louis1(5)
    April 11, 2012
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Softball takes two from Saint Louis
    Brittney Lang throws a complete game four-hitter in game two as the Salukis extended their series win streak over the Billikens to 10 games.

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois softball team looks to end a four-game losing streak Thursday when the Salukis host Saint Louis for a doubleheader starting at 2:30 p.m. at Charlotte West Stadium.

    SIU leads the all-time series between the two teams 36-3 and the Salukis have won the last 10 in the series. SLU's last win over the Southern came in St. Louis during the 2003 season. The Billikens enter the matchup at 10-9 overall after going 3-1 in the Fighting Illini Invitational last weekend in Champaign, Ill. Junior shortstop Jessica Van Nostrand leads SLU with a batting average of .306 for the season with a team-leading 19 hits and 12 RBI. Senior outfielder Jessica Buschjost has also been a solid contributor for the Billikens with 15 hits and 12 runs scored for the season. Freshman lefty Brianna Lore (6-6) leads the SLU pitching staff with a 3.13 ERA over 89.0 innings pitched. Lore has struck out 47 with 33 walks entering the series. Freshman Laney Kneib (4-3) is the Billikens' other starter. She holds a 5.02 ERA with 13 strikeouts and 19 walks in 37.2 innings.

    Saint Louis head coach Christy Connoyer is a familiar face for Saluki fans as she was an assistant at SIU for five years before talking the Billikens head job. Connoyer was at SIU from 2006 to 2010. Her tenure on the staff saw SIU make NCAA regionals in 2006 and 2007 and win the MVC regular season title in 2010.

    SIU dropped its MVC-opening doubleheader to Drake Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium. The Salukis rallied from a six-run deficit in the opener only to fall short in a 9-7 loss. Taylor Orsburn hit her first career grand slam to lead Southern in the effort while Brittney Lang suffered the loss. The nightcap saw SIU take a 9-5 lead into the final two innings before the Bulldogs hit four home runs in the last two frames to rally for the 11-7 win. Meredith Wilson went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI to lead the Saluki offense while Lang suffered her second loss of the day in the nightcap.

    SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock is closing in on her 500th career victory. In her 14th season as a head coach, all at Southern Illinois, the Saluki skipper sits at 498-239 through last week. She will become the eighth coach in MVC history and the second coach in SIU history (Kay Brechtelsbauer) with 500 wins. Blaylock will hold the highest career winning percentage (.680) of the league's 500-win coaches.

    Junior first baseman Taylor Orsburn hit SIU's third grand slam of the season in Saturday's MVC-opening loss to Drake. The Salukis only hit two grand slams last season, and tallied three in the entire 2011 season. Meredith Wilson already has two grand slams for SIU this season, something last accomplished by Christina Trapani in 2011.

    Saluki junior Jayna Spivey leads SIU and is tied for second in the MVC with six home runs through 23 games, which sits just one short of her long ball tally from last season. Spivey hit 11 home runs as a freshman in 2011, which is tied for seventh in SIU history for a single season. Her 24 career home runs is tied for fourth in SIU history.

    Junior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer has drawn 13 free bases on hit-by-pitch calls through SIU's first 23 games. That total leads the nation through the NCAA's most recent statistical report. The Kankakee, Ill., native led the nation last season with 28 hit-by-pitches. She has been hit by 45 total pitches in her career.

    Through the early stages of the 2013 season, senior Morgan Barchan and junior Taylor Orsburn have split time as Southern's leadoff hitter. Barchan leads the Salukis so far this season in batting average (.394), hits (28) and runs scored (18). Orsburn has also been solid, hitting .256 with 20 hits, 12 runs scored and 14 RBI.

    In addition to her home run prowess, Spivey has been one of SIU's most consistent run producers this season. She leads the Salukis with 19 RBI and is second on the team with 21 hits. Her .672 slugging percentage leads the team and her .328 batting average is second among SIU's everyday players.

    SIU has already had six games cancelled because of inclement weather while Southern's three-game series Saturday and Sunday against Northern Iowa has been moved to Carbondale due to the threat of bad weather in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

    Katie Bertelsen made her 2013 debut in the circle on March 13 at Austin Peay. Bertelsen missed the opening of the season rehabbing an injury. Last season, Bertelsen led the pitching staff in wins (13) and saves (5) and stuck out 74 in 149.1 innings pitched.