Southern Illinois vs. Illinois State: Game Notes and Links

    Kalyn Harker is hitting .440 over her last seven games.

    Kalyn Harker is hitting .440 over her last seven games.
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    April 4, 2014

    SIU (16-15, 4-4 MVC) vs. Illinois State (12-20, 4-2 MVC)
     Dates April 5-6, 2014
     Times Saturday, April 5
    Game 1: 12 p.m.
    Game 2: 2 p.m.
    Sunday, April 6
    Game 3: 12 p.m.
     Location Carbondale, Ill. -- Charlotte West Stadium (500)
     Live Stats
     Live Stream Saluki All-Access: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
     Live Audio Saluki All-Access: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
     Game Notes Southern Illinois | Illinois State | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Illinois StateMVC
     All-Time Series ILS leads, 59-51
     Series Streak SIU W1
     Social Media @SIU_Softball   |  @SIU_Softball   |  Saluki Softball 

    Southern Illinois is ready for its fourth MVC series with a three-game set with Illinois State on April 5-6. The team will play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at Noon, followed with a series finale at Noon on Sunday. The Salukis will play their Strike Out Cancer games on Saturday, wearing special pink uniforms. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and will be given the chance to write down the name of someone affected by cancer before the game, and the pieces of paper bearing those names will be held up prior to the first game while there is a moment of silence in commemoration of the names before the first pitch.

    The series is the final series in a challenging set of series to open the Missouri Valley Conference slate. Each of SIU's first four series of the MVC season were against the teams, along with SIU, picked in the top-half of the MVC in the preseason poll. Illinois State was the preseason No. 2 pick in the Valley. Southern is 4-4 through its first three series, going 0-2 against preseason MVC favorite UNI, 3-0 against preseason No. 3 pick Drake and 1-2 against preseason No. 5 pick Missouri State.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois9
    Illinois State3
    March 30, 2013
    Normal, Ill.
    Salukis split Saturday DH, take series from Illinois State 2-1
    The Southern Illinois softball team split a doubleheader with Illinois State Saturday to complete a 2-1 series win over the Redbirds.

    The Salukis trail the all-time series with Illinois State 59-51, making Illinois State the only Valley team SIU has an all-time losing record against, but Southern has won four of the last six in the series. In 2013, Southern took two of three games from the Redbirds. SIU won a wild 11-10 series opener before falling 10-6 to split the doubleheader. SIU won the series with a 9-3 win in the series finale. Southern also won two of three in 2012, winning each of the last two games in the series.

    Southern Illinois has won six of its last nine games, starting with a three-game sweep of Drake two weekends ago. Southern is 3-3 since, splitting a doubleheader with Saint Louis, losing two of three at Missouri State last weekend and run-ruling Murray State 9-1 on Tuesday.

    Illinois State has won four of its last seven games and has started MVC play 4-2, winning two of three in each of its first two series. Illinois State won two of three games against UNI to start MVC play and took two of three from Indiana State last weekend. On Tuesday, ILS lost to Illinois 7-4.

    Illinois State is 12-20 overall and 4-2 in the MVC just over the halfway point of the season. Illinois State loaded up its non-conference slate with an incredibly difficult schedule, playing 12 ranked schools so far this season. The Redbirds are 0-12 in those games and 12-8 against all other competition. Six of Illinois State's 12 losses against ranked teams have come to teams ranked in the top-10 nationally. The Redbirds have been competitive in some of those games--losing 3-2 to No. 4/3 Florida in the season opener, 4-2 at No. 5 Arizona State and 2-0 to No. 4/6 Oregon--but have also been run-ruled by Washington and lost by six runs to No. 5/4 Michigan, five runs to No. 11/7 Oklahoma and six runs to No. 20/22 Louisiana-Lafayette.

    In the circle, Illinois State is led by Regan Romshek, who has appeared in 24 of the team's 32 games. Romshek has started 16 of the team's 32 games, and preseason All-MVC pitcher Taylor Baxter has started the other 16. Romshek has compiled a 3.29 ERA, while Baxter has struggled to a 4-10 start with a 6.08 ERA.

    In the box, Kara Repp leads Illinois State with a .301 average--the only Redbird to hit better than .300 this year. Preseason All-Conference player Laura Canopy is second on the team with a .281 average and has scored a team-best 23 runs. Jordan de los Reyes leads the conference with eight home runs this year, leading a Redbird charge that has hit 25 home runs on the year. Illinois State holds just a .225 batting average this year, but they've averaged a respectable 3.8 runs despite getting less than six hits per contest. They've been held to two or fewer runs, however, in 10 games this year.

    Southern Illinois gave its lineup a major shake-up in its midweek game against Murray State. For the first time in 25 games, Taylor Orsburn did not hit leadoff for the Salukis. Instead, Orsburn was moved down to the No. 5 hole. Kalyn Harker, who had hit .381 in the six games prior to Tuesday's contest, took over the leadoff duties, and both players played great in their new roles. Harker went 3-for-4 with two runs and 3 RBIs in the leadoff role, and Taylor Orsburn hit a grand slam to bust the game open in the third inning.

    Southern was no-hit in the first game of a doubleheader at Saint Louis, but the Salukis have been on fire at the plate since then. As a team, Southern has hit .331 in the five games since they were no-hit and have raised the team batting average above .270 for the first time since March 9. Michelle Glenn (.556), Shaye Harre (.467), Kalyn Harker (.450), Jayna Spivey (.375) and Meredith Wilson (.357) have led the charge.

    On the season, five SIU hitters have posted batting averages of better than .300--Harre (.330), Glenn (.328), Spivey (.327), Harker (.316), and Kelsey Gonzalez (.308)--and that's not counting Allie VadeBoncouer, who has a .490 on-base percentage.

    Jayna Spivey and Shaye Harre have been especially impressive in MVC play. In eight games, Spivey is hitting .462 and slugging .731 while posting an OBP of .576. Shaye Harre has nearly matched Spivey, hitting .435 and sluggin .783 while poasting an OBP of .536. In addition, Kelsey Ashton and Michelle Glenn are both hitting .316 in MVC play.

    SIU senior Jayna Spivey broke the school record for career RBIs on a game-tying two-run double in the top of the seventh inning in the first game against Missouri State on Saturday. The record was shared by Jamie Schuttek (1994-97) and Alicia Garza (2007-10). Schuttek and Garza each reached 132 career RBIs, and Spivey has 136 total, which is good for eighth in MVC history.

    Last year, Spivey tied Schuttek's 1997 season for the sixth-most single-season RBIs with 44. Another current Saluki, Allie VadeBoncouer, holds the single-season record with 51 RBIs in 2012, while Taylor Orsburn holds third place on the single-season list with 49 RBIs in 2011. Orsburn isn't far behind Spivey in career RBIs; with 120 career RBIs, Orsburn is eighth on the school's all-time list, and VadeBoncouer (95 career RBIs) is knocking on the door of the top-10.

    Another Southern Illinois senior, Taylor Orsburn, is also among SIU's all-time RBI hitters. Orsburn hit a grand slam to center field that started SIU's 9-1 romp over Murray State on Tuesday. The four RBIs gave Orsburn 124 for her career, which tied her with Katie Wilson for fifth on SIU's all-time list.

    SIU junior Kalyn Harker has gone 11-for-25 (.440) in her last seven games, including a 3-for-4, 4 RBI outing in the second game of the SLU doubleheader. Not traditionally an RBI hitter, Harker has piled up 10 of her 16 RBIs in 2014 in those seven games. She's also gone a perfect 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts and scored six runs. With her hot streak in the last even games, Harker has raised her batting average from .255 to .316. Harker is hitting a team-leading .438 with runners in scoring position this year, going 14-for-32.

    SIU senior Allie VadeBoncouer was hit by a pitch in the second inning of the first game at Saint Louis. With the HBP, VadeBoncouer moved up to third in NCAA history in career hit-by-pitches, wearing 63 HBPs in her four-year SIU career. She took two more HBPs at Missouri State and now has 65, just two away from tying for second place in NCAA history. VadeBoncouer led the nation in HBPs in 2012 with 28, which ranked sixth for a single-season in NCAA history, and she added 23 more HBPs last season. She has 10 so far in 2014. VadeBoncouer needs just three more HBPs to move into second place in NCAA history. The two players in front of her are Myesha Finney of Auburn (2006-09), who had 67 career HBP, and Mariah Gearhart (2008-11) of Oklahoma State, who blows away the field with 92 career HBPs.

    VadeBoncouer has parlayed her ability to get hit with incredible on-base percentages. While leading the nation with 28 HBPs in 2012, VadeBoncouer posted an incredible .505 OBP, reaching base 102 times in 202 plate appearances. This season, VadeBoncouer holds a .490 OBP.

    SIU junior Katie Bertelsen has emerged as the staff ace over the last month. In her last seven appearances, Bertelsen has a 1.83 ERA and has thrown six complete games in her seven starts. She threw a complete-game shutout in the series opener against Drake and has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in the last seven games. She went pitch-for-pitch with 2012 MVC Pitcher of the Year Jamie Fisher of UNI in a 10-inning 2-1 loss and backed it up by only allowing six earned runs over her next 24 innings (2.14 ERA).

    Did you know?
    Taylor Orsburn's grand slam against Murray State gave her 124 career RBIs, tied for fifth on SIU's all-time list.

    SIU senior first baseman Taylor Orsburn, pitching for the first time in her SIU career, has a 1.95 ERA in 32.1 innings this year. Hitters are hitting just .242 against her on the season. Since MVC play started, she's been even better, posting an 1.21 ERA in 17.1 innings in her last five appearances and hitters have managed only a .215 average over that time. Orsburn had a 15-inning scoreless streak heading into the seventh inning of SIU's 9-3 win at SLU on Wednesday before giving up an earned run in the blowout. For good measure, she's added three doubles and a grand slam at the plate in that span.

    True freshman Shaye Harre has jumped right in and been one of the best hitters in the conference from the start of her career. Harre's older cousin, Amy, is one of SIU's all-time great pitchers, but Shaye Harre has shown her potential from the batter's box. Harre ranks 10th nationally among freshman in RBIs per game as of the last NCAA stat report last Monday and, along with Jayna Spivey, has led SIU to the No. 21 rank nationally out of 288 schools in doubles per game. Harre leads the team in home runs (3), RBIs (32), slugging percentage (.580) and triples (2), and she's done all that despite hitting just .194 with five RBIs in her first 13 games.

    Through 13 games, two key cogs in the middle of the SIU lineup were struggling. Senior Jayna Spivey was hitting just .237 and freshman Shaye Harre was hitting .194. In the 18 games since, both players have been playing at an All-American level. Harre is hitting .423 with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and 27 RBIs--not to mention her .769 slugging percentage and .530 on-base percentage. Spivey has been nearly as good, hitting .383 with seven doubles, a triple, two home runs, 17 RBIs, a .633 slugging percentage and .486 OBP. In SIU's eight MVC games, Spivey is hitting .462 and Harre is hitting .435. They've combined for 19 RBIs and are each slugging better than .730.

    Jayna Spivey is already SIU's all-time RBI leader, but she's also knocking on the door for other top-10 lists. Spivey is one run scored away from jumping into the top 10 in career runs scored; she currently has 112 career runs. She is 10th in career doubles; she currently has 31 career doubles. And she's already in fourth place on the school's all-time home run list with 31 career homers. Spivey's next home run will tie Katie Wilson for third place in school history, and she is nine HRs away from the school's all-time lead.

    Senior second baseman Jayna Spivey was named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. Spivey was 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 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, she is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .663 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches. She coached her 800th career game--all of which have been at SIU--on March 30 at Missouri State.

    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.

    This year, the Salukis have continued the trend. Southern leads the conference in walks and ranks third in both hit-by-pitches and on-base percentage. As a result, the Salukis are second in the conference in runs scored and rank in the top-three in the MVC in nearly every offensive category.

    Lineup Quick Notes
     1 Merri Anne Patterson Played in 23 games, starting 4 ... First career RBIs at SLU ... 2-3 stolen bases ... Started last games @ SLU & @MSU
     2 Allie VadeBoncouer .490 OBP ... Current 15-game reached-base streak ... 3rd in NCAA history w/ 65 career HBP (10 in 2014)
     3 Jayna Spivey .327 BA ... .383 BA in last 18 games ... SIU career RBI leader and 8th in MVC history (136) ... 4th in SIU HRs (31)
     4 Kelsea Ashton Played in all 31 games, starting 28 at 3b ... Has one double and one triple ... Reached base in last six games
     5 Lacey Newbold Has played in 26 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 6-for-7 in stolen bases ... Scored 12 runs
     6 Jessa Thomas Played in 7 games and started 6 ... Has not committed an error ... Looking for her first career hit
     7 Kelsey Gonzalez 5th on team with .308 BA ... Has a hit in 11 of last 15 G ... 3 Sac Flys (21st nationally) ... 5-5 SB ... .550 avg. leading off inn.
     10 Caylee Cook Played in 25 games, starting 17 ... Has hit 2 HR ... Had HR rule out vs. UNI due to sub infraction
     11 Michelle Glenn .328 average and .456 OBP ... Team-best 11-11 SB ... Started 23 games and played in 27
     12 Kalyn Harker .316 avg ... .440 avg in last 7 games ... 4 RBIs in 2nd game at SLU ... .438 avg. w/ RISP ... 8-9 SB
     17 Kara Kimball Played in 25 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 2-2 SB ... Scored 11 runs
     20 Taylor Orsburn .252 average ... 1.21 ERA last 17.1 IP (since MVC play started) ... 5th in SIU history in 2B (38) ... 0 ER at home (10 IP)
     24 Alyssa Wunderlich 3-4 record ... 6.39 ERA ... 31 IP ... 18 SO ... Went 4.2 IP scoreless 3/8 vs. St. Joseph's
     25 Shaye Harre SIU-best .330 BA, .580 slg% and 3 HR ... 10th in nation among freshmen in RBIs/game (32) ... .714 avg. w/runner on 3rd & LT 2 outs
     27 Katie Bertelsen 1.83 ERA in last 7 app. (6 CG) ... CG SHO vs. Drake ... Team-best 8 Ws ... 3-2 in MVC play
     28 Taylor Harris Played in 22 games and started 11 ... in a 1-17 slump ... Singled and scored in G3 vs. Drake ... 3-8 as pinch hitter
     33 Meredith Wilson Preseason All-MVC ... Broke out of 1-11 slump with 2B at SLU (5-14 since) ... Started 24 games ... 10 2-out RBIs
     40 Brook Womack Has played in 16 games, starting 5 ... Has scored 4 R and has 1 RBI
      Team 14-2 with 6+ runs; 2-13 with 0-5 runs ... .335 team BA in wins; .197 BA in losses ... Outscored opp. 29-5 in 4th inn.
     HC Kerri Blaylock Coached her 800th career game--all at SIU--on March 30 @ Missouri St. ... Highest Win% among MVC 500-win coaches

    SIU softball has a new Facebook fan page at Fans who like the page will get links to follow games, promotions, and photos from the season.

    The official Twitter of Saluki softball is @SIU_Softball. This account features team news as well as live in-game updates. Fans can also follow Saluki Athletics @SIUSalukis for news on all SIU sports.

    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.

    Coverage for every Saluki softball game is available online though Saluki All-Access at A live audio stream will be available for every game and live video will be available for all home games. Saluki All-Access also has on-demand content for all 18 Saluki sports.