Softball begins three-game series Friday at Illinois State

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    March 28, 2013

    Southern Illinois (12-15, 0-4 MVC) vs. Illinois State (13-12, 0-0 MVC)
     Date Friday and Saturday, March 29-30
     Time Friday, 4 p.m. / Saturday, 12 p.m. (DH)
     Location Normal, Ill. - Marian Kneer Stadium
     Radio Streaming online at Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
     Social Media @SIU_Softball

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois3
    Illinois State13
    May 12, 2012
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Softball falls to Illinois State in MVC Championship game
    The Salukis (36-20) were topped 13-3 by in-state rival Illinois State in the championship game of the MVC Tournament held at Charlotte West Stadium Saturday.

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois softball team travels to Illinois State Friday and Saturday for a three-game series against the Redbirds. Both teams are looking for their first Missouri Valley Conference wins.

    Illinois State leads the all-time series between the two teams 58-49. The Redbirds enter their first MVC series of the season at 13-12 overall. Senior Elizabeth Kay leads ISU with 29 hits, 24 RBI and a batting average of .363 for the season. Kay has hit a team-best five home runs and boasts a .588 slugging percentage. Junior infielder Laura Canopy is second on the team in batting average (.316), hits (25) RBI (23) and runs scored (21). Canopy's nine extra base hits (four doubles, three triples, five home runs) leads the Redbirds. Senior Jhavon Hamilton (.267 avg, 20 hits, 11 RBI) has been the most active Redbird on the base paths with team highs of 24 walks, 22 runs scored and seven stolen bases. Junior Taylor Baxter leads the Redbirds pitching staff with a 7-4 record and a 2.97 ERA. Baxter has allowed 28 earned runs on 80 hits with 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 66.0 innings of work. Freshman Regan Romshek (4-6) leads ISU with 50 strikeouts. Romshek has a 3.19 ERA with 31 earned runs on 88 hits with 22 walks in 68.0 innings.

    The Salukis and Redbirds split four games last season, all of which took place in Carbondale. ISU won the regular season series opener 5-0 before SIU bounced back for 6-1 and 2-1 wins to take the series 2-1. The Redbirds bounced back for a 13-3 win over SIU in the MVC Tournament Championship game to earn an automatic bid for the NCAA Regionals.

    SIU dropped a pair of one-run games to Northern Iowa last Saturday in Carbondale. An unearned run in the 11th inning gave the Panthers a 4-3 win in the opener. SIU forced the extra innings with a game-tying single by Kalyn Harker with two outs in the seventh inning. Morgan Barchan went 2-for-4 with two hits to lead SIU in the opener while Alyssa Wunderlich suffered the loss despite striking out a career-best six and allowing no earned runs. SIU tried another seventh-inning rally in Game 2, but came up short in a 2-1 loss. The Salukis went scoreless through the first six innings of the game before Barchan hit a solo home run in the seventh. SIU got the tying and winning runs to the plate, but couldn't push across another run. Barchan went 3-for-4 in Game 2 while Wunderlich took another tough luck loss.

    SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock reached 500 career coaching wins with SIU's doubleheader sweep of Saint Louis last Thursday. In her 14th season, all at SIU, the Saluki skipper sits at 500-241 overall through last week. She is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .675 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches.

    Senior outfielder Morgan Barchan took over the MVC lead in hits for the season with 35 through last week. The Arcadia, Calif., native ranks fourth in the Valley with a .407 batting average. Southern's leadoff hitter, Barchan also leads SIU with 20 runs scored and a .500 on-base percentage.

    SIU's series at Illinois State ends a six-game homestand for the Salukis. In fact, due to rainouts and the UNI series being moved to Carbondale, Southern has played 10 home games with just two road games thus far in the month of March.

    SIU's 0-4 start in the MVC puts the Salukis in unfamiliar territory. Southern has never opened conference play with four consecutive losses in its 30 years of playing in the Gateway/Missouri Valley Conference. SIU's worst previous conference start was 0-3 to begin Gateway Conference play in 1984. Southern's last comparable bad conference start was 2-6 during head coach Kerri Blaylock's first season in 2000. SIU's longest conference losing streak was six games during the 1986 season.

    SIU played two extra innings games last week with a 7-6 win over Saint Louis Thursday in nine innings and a 4-3 loss to Northern Iowa Saturday in 11 innings. Southern has played three total extra innings games already this season, which matches its total from all of last season.

    Junior first baseman Taylor Orsburn hit SIU's third grand slam of the season in SIU'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 third in the MVC with six home runs through 27 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 14 free bases on hit-by-pitch calls through SIU's first 27 games. That total is tied with South Alabama's Brittany Fowler for second in the nation through last week. Iowa's Bradi Wall leads the nation with 16. VadeBoncouer led the nation last season with 28 hit-by-pitches. She has been hit by 46 total pitches in her career.