Softball faces SIUE, Eastern Illinois in midweek games

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    April 1, 2013

    Southern Illinois (14-16, 2-5 MVC) vs. SIU Edwardsville (22-8, 7-2 OVC) & Eastern Illinois (19-9, 9-1 OVC)
     Date Tuesday, April 2 vs. SIUE/Thursday, April 4 at EIU
     Time Tuesday, 4 p.m./Thursday, 4 p.m.
     Location Carbondale, Ill. – Charlotte West Stadium (Tuesday)
    Charleston, Ill.  Williams Field (Thursday)
     Radio Streaming online at Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats vs. SIUE / at EIU
     Social Media @SIU_Softball

    CARBONDALE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois softball team ventures outside conference play this week for a pair of midweek games against two of the top teams from the Ohio Valley Conference. The Salukis host SIU Edwardsville Tuesday before traveling to Eastern Illinois Thursday.

    SIU leads the all-time series 37-7 and the Salukis have won the last five matchups. SIUE’s last win in the series came during the 2009 Coach B Classic in Carbondale. The Cougars enter Tuesday’s matchup with a 22-8 overall record, having won five straight. Sophomore Alex McDavid leads the Cougars offense with a .414 batting average and team-highs of 38 hits, 26 RBI, 26 runs scored and five home runs. SIUE has five other players that have posted at least 20 hits and drove in at least 15 runs. Freshman Haley Chambers leads the Cougars pitching staff with an 12-2 record in a team-high 16 appearances. Chambers had a 1.99 ERA and a team-leading 87 strikeouts. Also for SIUE, junior Erin GreenWalt (7-3) has a 1.56 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

    SIU swept the Cougars in a pair of games last season. The Salukis won 4-1 in Carbondale during the Coach B Classic before later topping SIUE by the same score in Edwardsville.

    SIU leads the all-time series between the two schools 30-21 and the Salukis have won the last three matchups. EIU enters the week on a four-game winning streak, and the Panthers will play a doubleheader at Saint Louis Wednesday before hosting the Salukis. EIU is led by sophomore Hannah Cole with a batting average of .386 on a team-high 32 hits. Cole also has 18 RBI and 15 runs scored. Also for the Panthers, Carly Willert (.323 avg., 3 hits, 24 runs) and Brooke Owens (.300 avg, 24 hits, 20 RBI) have been solid offensive contributors. Junior Hanna Mennega (12-4) leads the pitching staff with a 1.29 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 103.0 innings pitched. Mennega ranks third in the nation with an average of 11.6 strikeouts per seven innings. Junior Stephanie Maday (7-3) had a 1.67 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 79.2 innings.

    SIU topped the Panthers 10-2 in five innings last season in Carbondale.

    SIU won its first series against Illinois State in Normal, Ill., since 2005, taking two of three from the Redbirds. In the opener last Friday, the Salukis came back from an early 3-0 deficit to lead by as much as 11-4 before the Redbirds rallied late. ISU scored six runs in the seventh inning, but SIU held on for the 11-10 win. Southern dropped the second game of the series 10-6 after falling in an early 6-0 deficit. The Salukis came back within 7-4, but ISU scored three runs in the last inning to ride out the win. Southern bounced back for a 9-3 win in the series finale. The two teams were tied 3-3 after four innings before the Salukis exploded for six runs in the sixth inning to secure their first MVC series win of the season. Allie VadeBoncouer hit 6-for-11 (.545) with three RBI and a home run in the series while Kalyn Harker went 4-for-12 (.333) with six RBI and two home runs. Michelle Bradley also went yard twice in the series with five RBI. Katie Bertelsen picked up a win and a save for the pitching staff while Brittney Lang picked up Southern’s other pitching win.

    SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois are two of six Ohio Valley Conference schools the Salukis are scheduled to play this season. Southern played OVC members Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay earlier this season and the Salukis are scheduled to face UT Martin and Southeast Missouri State later this month. SIU was supposed to face OVC member Belmont during the Saluki Invitational, but the matchup was cancelled.

    SIU will play seven of its next nine games at Charlotte West Stadium, continuing a home-heavy portion of the Salukis’ schedule. Due to some cancellations and venue changes, SIU played 10 of 15 games at home during the month of March.

    Senior outfielder Morgan Barchan is MVC leader in hits through last week with 38 for the season. The Arcadia, Calif., native ranks third in the MVC with a .392 batting average. Southern’s leadoff hitter, Barchan leads SIU with a .473 on-base percentage and ranks second on the team with 22 runs scored.

    With seven home runs in its three-game series against Illinois State, SIU is up to 25 homers for the season. That total through 30 games is just eight shy of the team’s long ball tally from last season. Six Saluki players (Michelle Bradley, Morgan Barchan, Kalyn Harker, Taylor Orsburn, Jayna Spivey and Meredith Wilson) have either equaled or bettered their home run totals from last season.

    Southern leads the MVC in drawing free bases through last week’s games. The Salukis have drawn an MVC-best 121 bases on balls and Illinois State (117) is the only other team in the Valley with more than 105. Additionally, the Salukis’ 35 free bases on hit by pitches is the league leader by 13.