Salukis Set to Host Drake

    Jayna Spivey has reached base in nine-straight games, posting an OBP of .526 in that span.

    Jayna Spivey has reached base in nine-straight games, posting an OBP of .526 in that span.
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    March 21, 2014

    SIU (10-12, 0-2 MVC) vs. Drake (6-16, 0-0 MVC)
     Dates March 22-23, 2014
     Times Saturday, March 22
    Game 1: 1 p.m.
    Game 2: 3 p.m.
    Sunday, March 23
    Game 3: 12 p.m. 
     Location Carbondale, Ill. -- Charlotte West Stadium
     Live Stats
     Live Stream Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois | Drake
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | DrakeMVC
     All-Time Series SIU leads Drake, 50-23
     Streak Drake, W3
     Social Media @SIU_Softball  | @SIU_Softball  | Saluki Athletics 

    Southern Illinois hosts Drake on March 22-23 at Charlotte West Stadium. The series was originally scheduled to be played in Des Moines, Iowa, but due to weather concerns was moved to Carbondale, Ill. The Salukis are heading into the second weekend of MVC play, in which SIU's first four weekends are against the top four non-SIU schools in the preseason poll. Southern dropped two one-run games to unanimous Valley favorite UNI last weekend, including one game that went 10 innings. This weekend's opponent, Drake, is the preseason No. 3 team in the Valley. Next weekend, SIU heads to preseason No. 5 Missouri State, followed by a home series with preseason No. 2 Illinois State on April 5-6.

    The Salukis have dominated the overall series with Drake, owning a 50-23 advantage overall. Drake won both games between the schools last year when the series finale was canceled. SIU won the series in 2012 2-1, but Drake got the win in the series finale, giving the Bulldogs a three-game winning streak over SIU heading into this weekend. Neither team has swept a three-game series weekend since SIU got three-straight wins over DU in 2001. Drake is playing for the first time since March 9 after its MVC-opening series with Illinois State was postponed due to weather.

    Southern Illinois pushed unanimous preseason MVC favorite UNI to the brink in both games of a doubleheader but came up one run short both times. In the first game, Katie Bertelsen matched three-time All-MVC pitcher Jaime Fisher pitch-for-pitch, but SIU fell 2-1 in 10 innings. In the second game, SIU quickly fell behind 5-0 but charged back and had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the sixth.

    Drake played three games at the Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla., from March 7-9. The Bulldogs opened with an 8-6 win over Missouri State on March 7 before falling to Oklahoma State 2-0 and No. 17 Minnesota 6-2 later in the tournament. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Illinois State in Normal, Ill., last weekend, but the series was postponed due to weather.

    Drake comes into the weekend at just 6-16 overall, but the Bulldogs have played a tough schedule that includes seven games against ranked opponents. The Bulldogs are 1-6 in those games against ranked opponents, getting a 7-4 win over No. 24 Arkansas on March 1. The Bulldogs have not played any MVC games yet but were picked No. 3--and were one point away from the No. 2 slot--in the conference in the preseason poll despite not having a single preseason All-MVC selection.

    Drake's leading hitter is Megan Sowa, who is hitting .352 in 54 at-bats. Amy Pierce and Hayley Nybo are the only players who have started all 22 games for DU. On the pitching side, Rebekah Scmidt has started 10 of 22 games for Drake and has a 3.97 ERA and 5-8 record. She has appeared in all 22 games and piled up 107.2 of the team's 138 innings pitched. She has struck out 61 and walked 28 while giving up 13 home runs and 27 doubles.

    SIU is also hosting Illinois State vs. UNI this weekend at Charlotte West Stadium due to weather issues. The Redbirds and Panthers are playing a doubleheader on March 21, starting at 1:30, and will play their final game on Saturday, March 22, at 11 a.m. Fans are encouraged to come out to Charlotte West Stadium and watch the preseason top two teams in the Valley and support MVC softball.

    Through 13 games, preseason All-MVC selection Jayna Spivey was hitting just .237 and coming off an 0-for-3, three-strikeout performance against Kansas. Since, Spivey has been on a tear, raising her batting average to .314 and reaching base in all nine games, which is a career high. In the last nine games, Spivey has hit 13-for-32 (.438). With six walks in that span, Spivey's OBP is .526 and she has hit five doubles and two home runs while driving in eight runs.

    The Salukis are just 3-5 in their last eight games, but four of those five losses have come by just one run. After losing by just one Boston U and Fordham in the Under Armour Classic, Southern pushed unanimous preseason MVC favorite UNI to the brink in each of the games this weekend. SIU pushed UNI to 10 innings in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader, coming up just short when a runner was thrown out at home from right field in the eighth inning.

    SIU junior Katie Bertelsen pitched arguably the best game of her career on Saturday against UNI. Pitching against three-time first-team All-MVC selection and 2012 MVC Pitcher of the year Jamie Fisher, Bertelsen gave up only one earned run in 10 innings while striking out three. Bertelsen was in position to get the win over Fisher, but a perfect throw negated a would-be sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth. Bertelsen has given up two earned runs or fewer in nine of her 15 appearances this year, including six of her 11 starts. From Feb. 22 to March 2, Bertelsen gave up only three earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched and lowered her ERA in that time from 4.73 to 3.33. With her 10-inning outing against UNI, Bertelsen's ERA is back under 4.0 and currently stands at 3.94.

    SIU has outscored its opponents 117-110 this year, but opponents have outscored the Salukis in five of seven innings. However, Southern has absolutely dominated the middle innings, outscoring opponents a combined 44-12 in the fourth and fifth innings this year.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois9
    March 16, 2013
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Drake sweeps Salukis to open MVC play
    The Southern Illinois softball team suffered a two-game sweep and the hands of Drake to open Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.

    Freshman Shaye Harre has not wasted any time in getting acclimated to collegiate softball. The native of nearby Nashville, Ill., has started all 22 of SIU's games and is 3-3 in 12 appearances and five starts as a pitcher. She currently has one complete game shutout (Providence, W, 8-0), only 13 shutouts off the all-time lead at SIU, which is held by her cousin Amy Harre. At the plate, she is currently hitting .279 with a team-leading 21 RBIs, five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Harre ranks fourth in the MVC in total RBIs with 21.

    Senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer is on fire to start the 2014 campaign. VadeBoncouer ranks second on the team with a .327 batting average and an amazing .515 on-base percentage, which ranks second in the conference. She has drawn 12 walks and been hit by pitch seven times so far in 2014, which gives her 62 career HBP's for her career.

    Jayna Spivey now has 29 career doubles, which is good for 10th all-time at SIU. She also ranks fourth all-time in home runs (30) and fourth in RBIs (127).

    The Saluki sophomores have avoided the sophomore slump with hot bats at the plate in 2014. Sophomore Kelsey Gonzalez leads the team with a .333 batting average. Three of SIU's 11 home runs in 2014 can be attributed to Saluki sophomores Caylee Cook (two) and Taylor Harris (one).

    Senior second baseman Jayna Spivey has been named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. Spivey is a 2013 Capital One Academic All-District selection and First-Team Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete who holds a 3.761 cumulative GPA in biological sciences. The Rosiclare, Ill. recorded 44 RBI's in 2013 to lead the Missouri Valley Conference, which ties as the sixth-best season in SIU history. She also led SIU with 12 multi-RBI games and ranked second in the MVC with 11 home runs, which is tied for seventh in school history. Thirty NCAA softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates today for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate softball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

    SIU's game on April 10, 2013 at UT Martin marked SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock's 750th game as a head coach, all of which were at SIU. Blaylock also picked up her 500th career coaching win on March 21, 2013 with SIU's doubleheader sweep of Saint Louis. In her 15th season, the Saluki skipper sits at 525-265 overall. She is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .665 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches.

    Spivey is looking work her way up the SIU record book for home runs in her final seaon. The senior's 11 home runs last season ranked second in the MVC and seventh in school history for a single season. She is up to 29 home runs for her career, which ranks fourth in SIU history.

    SIU set a new program record for grand slams in a season in 2013 with six through the end of the regular season. SIU's previous record of five grand slams came in 2010. Preseason All-Conference selection Meredith Wilson recorded two of SIU's grand slams last season.

    Southern led the MVC in drawing free bases last season with a combined 259 free bases via walks and hit-by-pitches. The Salukis ranked second behind Illinois State for the MVC's lead in bases on balls with 201, and the Salukis' 58 free bases on hit by pitches was the league leader by 19.

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    SALUKI NEWS ONLINE is the official website for SIU Athletics. It is the best source for up-to-date information on the Saluki softball team. Rosters, box scores, cumulative statistics, pre-game notes and other materials are available on the site. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read PDF files.

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