Senior Mallory Duran-Sellers holds a .413 batting averaged with 25 walks drawn on the season.
March 30, 2012
By Megan Kramper
CARBONDALE, Ill. - A battle of the third place teams in the Missouri Valley Conference will take place at Charlotte West Stadium Saturday and Sunday as preseason favorite Illinois State comes to town for a three-game series.
Southern Illinois Salukis (18-8, 5-1 MVC) vs. Illinois State Redbirds (19-13, 5-1 MVC)
Game 27-29 • Carbondale, Ill. (Charlotte West Stadium)
Radio: GameCentral on SIUSalukis.com with Patrick Erickson (play-by-play) and Johnny Sole, Bret Behrens (color)
Video: GameCentral on SIUSalukis.com
Stats: Gametracker from SIUSalukis.com or stats.siu.edu
Saturday: High: 80˚, scattered thunderstorms (40%)
Sunday: High: 74˚, mostly cloudy
Saturday & Sunday
Kids Run the Bases
ILLINOIS STATE QUICK HITS
The Redbirds lead the all-time series 56-47 and are the only other team besides Creighton to hold an advantage over the Salukis in conference play. In 2011, the Redbirds stole the rubber match and the series in Normal, Ill., as they came from behind in the bottom of the seventh in game three for a 5-4 win. The Redbirds went on to win the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title. Neither team has swept the series since SIU did it in 2005.
ON DECK: ILLINOIS STATE (19-13, 5-1 MVC)
Preseason MVC favorite and defending 2011 regular champion Illinois State comes into the weekend after winning six of its last seven including a sweep of Wichita State last weekend at home. The Redbirds have played a solid non-conference schedule highlighted by wins over No. 14 Michigan and No 10/11 Baylor and are the only Valley team to beat ranked opponents. ISU has struggled at times, including a seven game losing streak to close out the month of February. However, the Redbirds rebounded in early March with a six-game win streak. ISU is coming off a Tuesday shutout of Northern Illinois in Dekalb, Ill. They hold a team .265 batting average, the fifth-best in the league, led by sophomore infielder Lauren Canopy (.345 batting average, a double, triple, home run and 10 RBI). In the circle, seniors Jordan Birch and Megan Warner split most of the innings pitched. Birch leads the way with a 2.02 ERA and an 11-8 record. She holds her opponents to a .199 batting average and has 105 strikeouts on the season.
ORSBURN, DURAN-SELLERS GRAB WEEKLY HONORS
Taylor Orsburn was named the MVC Player of the Week while Mallory Duran-Sellers grabbed MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors this week. Orsburn continued to impress in conference play as she helped the Salukis to a Saturday doubleheader sweep of Creighton and the series victory going 7-for-10 (.700) on the weekend which included home runs in back-to-back innings Saturday, her first long balls of the season.The sophomore first baseman also had two doubles, five RBI, seven runs scored and 14 total bases as she held a 1.400 slugging percentage and a .769 on base percentage while drawing three walks. Her four hits on in game one on Saturday marked a career high. Outfielder Duran-Sellers hit .500 (4-for-8) and collected a home run, four RBI, seven runs scored and two stolen bases while posting a 1.000 slugging percentage and drew five walks from her leadoff spot in the Saluki line-up.
BRADLEY HELPS SALUKIS BEAT COUGARS
Junior outfielder Michelle Bradley's three-run home run in the second inning proved to be the difference in Southern's 4-1 win over sister school SIU Edwardsville in non-conference action Tuesday at Cougar Field. Bradley held just a .086 batting average before launching her first home run of the season. The Salukis shut out the Cougars until the sixth inning when Katie Bertelsen allowed the only run to score.
THE CHARLOTTE WEST ADVANTAGE
Home field advantage has been key for the Salukis' success in the past two seasons in both regular season and conference action. The Salukis are 6-1 at home this season and 2-1 in Missouri Valley Conference action. They hold an impressive 31-6 record at Charlotte West Stadium in the past three and-a-half years combined in their conference slate.