SIU vs. LU: Game Notes and Links

    Kelsey Gonzalez is tied for third in the NCAA with six sacrifice flies this year.

    Kelsey Gonzalez is tied for third in the NCAA with six sacrifice flies this year.
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    April 17, 2014

    SIU (21-19, 9-7 MVC) vs. Loyola (16-24, 7-9 MVC)
     Date April 18-19, 2014
     Times April 18
    Game 1: 3 p.m.
    Game 2: 5 p.m.

    April 19
    Game 3: Noon

     Location Carbondale, Ill. -- Charlotte West Stadium (500)
     Promotion April 18
    WIN Nite--$2 tickets for WIN members
    Withers Broadcasting Family Friday--$25 for 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, nachos or pretzels, and four fountain drinks

    April 19
    Coach For The Day

     Live Stats
     Live Stream Saluki All-Access: G1 | G2 | G3
     Live Audio Saluki All-Access: G1 | G2 | G2
     Game Notes Southern Illinois | Loyola | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | LoyolaMVC
     All-Time Series SIU leads, 2-0
     Series Streak SIU W2
     Social Media @SIU_Softball   |  @SIU_Softball   |  Saluki Softball 

    Southern Illinois takes a season-best four-game winning streak into a three-game series with Loyola on April 18-19. The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday, starting at 3 p.m., and a finale at Noon on Saturday. The Salukis have played their first 40 games of the season within two games above or below .500 and have a chance right off the bat to improve to three-game above .500 after sweeping an Evansville doubleheader on Wednesday to improve their season record to 21-19. The meeting will be the first MVC matchup between the two schools; they have only met twice before and not since 2000.

    The Salukis have only played Loyola twice before, and the teams have not met since 2000, head coach Kerri Blaylock's first year as SIU's head coach. Southern has won both meetings between the schools, winning 6-1 in 1996 and 4-2 in 2000.

    Southern Illinois riding a season-best four-game winning streak of the season into the series with Loyola. Southern has stayed within two games on either side of .500 for the first 40 games of the season and has a chance to improve to three games above .500 with either a first-game win or a series win against Loyola. All four games in SIU's winning streak have been in MVC play, pushing its conference record from 5-7 to 9-7 and tied for fourth place in the Valley.

    Loyola has lost five of its last seven games, including an 8-0 loss at No. 25 Northwestern in five innings on Wednesday. The Ramblers have won only one Valley series but have taken at least one win in every series so far, including one of league-leader Wichita State's three MVC losses.

    Loyola was picked to finish sixth in its inaugural season in the Missouri Valley Conference, and they sit in sixth place halfway through the conference season with a 7-9 MVC record.

    The Ramblers are led at the dish by Lauren Moore, who has a .282 average, five home runs and a team-leading 23 RBIs on the season. Moore is one of eight LU players who has at least one home run on the season, and the team has totaled 20 bombs this year. Loyola has only attempted to steal 20 bases, but they've been successful on 18 of those attempts. Jessica Balzano leads the squad in average at .292 and has a team-leading .369 on-base percentage.

    Did you know?
    Only 140 DI softball players have hit three or more sacrifice flies all season, and Kelsey Gonzalez has three in the last six games alone.

    In the circle, Brittany Gardner has appeared in 23 of the team's 40 games, holding a 12-10 record and a 3.39 ERA. Loyola's second pitcher is Ashley Rogers, who has 16 appearances and a 4.85 ERA to go along with a 4-8 record this year. Loyola's pitcher have walked 182 batters this year, compared to just 120 walks SIU has given up in the same number of games.

    The Salukis will host Withers Broadcasting Family Friday at Charlotte West Stadium. The general public can get four tickets, four hot dogs, nachos or pretzels and four fountain drinks for just $25. In addition, SIU Athletics is teaming with the Women's Intersport Network (WIN), and all WIN members can get $2 tickets into the doubleheader.

    Taylor Orsburn had five RBIs--including a grand slam--on Wednesday in a doubleheader against Evansville. The five RBIs give her 132 in her career, which is tied with two other SIU hitters for 10th in MVC history and second in SIU history. The only other hitter in Southern Illinois history who has more career RBIs than Orsburn is teammate Jayna Spivey, who broke SIU's career record earlier this season. With both Spivey and Orsburn in the top-10 in MVC history in career RBIs, Southern Illinois is the only school with teammates in the top-10. With four total players among the top-12 RBI producers in MVC history, Southern has the most players among the MVC's elite RBI producers of any school.

    Kelsey Gonzalez has been Southern's hottest hitter over the past few weeks, raising her season batting average to .340, which is second on the team. Gonzalez is currently riding a team-best seven-game hitting streak, and she has nine multi-hit games, which is second on the team. Gonzalez has hit safely in 18 of the last 24 games and reached base in 21 of those 24 games, raising her batting average nearly 80 points from .262 to .340. In that 24-game stretch, Gonzalez has a team-best .393 batting average to go along with a .446 on-base percentage and .508 slugging percentage.

    Sacrifice flies are rare in softball, with seven sac flies on the year leading the NCAA as of last Monday's stat report. Kelsey Gonzalez has been one of the nation's best at getting a run home from third. She had four coming into the week, which ranked 11th nationally, and added two more on Wednesday. With six, Gonzalez tied other players for third in the NCAA this year in sacrifice flies. If she's not hitting a sac fly, chances are she's still getting the runner home: Gonzalez is hitting .533 (8-for-15) this year with a runner on third and less than two outs.

    SIU freshman Merri Anne Patterson was inserted into the starting lineup for the series at Bradley and wasted no time in making a spark. The Salukis have gone 4-1 since Patterson became a regular starter. She threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the seventh to secure a 7-6 win over Bradley in the second game of the series, and her two-run home run in the series finale proved to be the difference in a 6-4 win. Patterson has six RBIs in MVC play and a .450 on-base percentage, including drawing two bases-loaded walks against Evansville in the doubleheader in Carbondale.

    SIU's bats have gone wild over the last three games. Southern has posted 30 hits over the last three games alone, averaging 9.0 runs per game in that span and hitting .390 as a team. The Salukis have gotten on base more than half the time, posting a .515 team on-base percentage and a .610 slugging percentage. Five SIU regulars have hit .500 or better over that three-game stretch, led by Taylor Orsburn's crazy numbers (.500 avg. / 2 HR / 7 RBIs / 1.250 slugging). The result: SIU's team batting average is at .275--its highest mark of the season.

    SIU senior Allie VadeBoncouer has reached base in 23-straight games for the Salukis, the longest mark on the team this season. It's the longest for SIU since teammate Taylor Orsburn reached base in 26-straight games overlapping the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Orsburn reached base in the final 23 games of 2013 before reaching base in the first three games of this season.

    VadeBoncouer has posted a .586 on-base percentage in that 23-game swing, raising her OBP to .492 on the season, which ranks third in the MVC. In that sample size that has grown to more than half the season, three other Salukis have matched or nearly matched VadeBoncouer's incredible OBP. Kelsey Gonzalez has a .451 on-base percentage while leading the team with a .397 average in that span, and Jayna Spivey (.484 OBP) and Shaye Harre (.488 OBP) have also been getting on base at nearly a 50 percent clip.

    Through 16 games, SIU senior Jayna Spivey is dominating in MVC play. She's hitting .471 (24-for-51) with great slugging (.804) and on-base percentage (.585) numbers. Her average could potentially still be above .500 in MVC play if she had not been robbed of three hits by diving plays by opposing outfielders. Eighteen of her 32 RBIs this season have come in the 16 conference games, and she's committed just one error in conference play. She's totaled six doubles, a triple, three home runs, 14 runs scored and 41 total bases. The senior has broken SIU's career RBI record and ranks eighth in MVC history in career RBIs, just three away from breaking into the top-five in conference history.

    Spivey isn't the only Saluki dominating in conference play this year. Shaye Harre is hitting .370 as a freshman with a .482 on-base percentage. Kelsey Gonzalez isn't far behind, hitting .357 with nine of her 13 RBIs on the season coming in conference play. Kelsea Ashton is hitting .324 and has a .425 OBP, and Michelle Glenn (.432), Allie VadeBoncouer (.519) and Merri Anne Patterson (.450) join with OBPs above .400.

    Lineup Quick Notes
     1 Merri Anne Patterson Started last 5 MVC games ... Threw out tying run at home to beat BU in G2 ... 2R HR @ BU in G3 ... .450 OPB in MVC
     2 Allie VadeBoncouer 3rd in MVC w/ .492 OBP ... Current 23-game reached-base streak ... 2nd in NCAA history w/ 69 career HBP (14 in 2014)
     3 Jayna Spivey .346 BA ... .393 BA in last 27 games ... SIU career RBI leader and 8th in MVC history (143) ... 3rd in SIU HRs (33)
     4 Kelsea Ashton .324 BA in MVC play; .114 avg in non-con Gs ... Played in all 40 games, starting 37 at 3b
     5 Lacey Newbold Has played in 32 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 6-for-7 in stolen bases ... Scored 14 runs
     6 Jessa Thomas Played in 8 games and started 7 ... Has not committed an error ... Looking for her first career hit (5 ABs so far)
     7 Kelsey Gonzalez 2nd on team with .340 BA ... Reached base in 21 of last 24 G ... 6 Sac Flys (3rd nationally) ... 7G hit streak ... .393 avg last 24G
     10 Caylee Cook Played in 30 games, starting 17 ... Has hit 2 HR and 3 doubles ... .417 success advancing runners
     11 Michelle Glenn .296 average and .422 OBP ... Team-best 12-12 SB ... Started 30 games and played in 36 ... 14-14 career SB
     12 Kalyn Harker .299 avg. ... .366 avg. w/ RISP ... 11-12 SB ... 31 career SB ... Only 1 career error (173 PO)
     17 Kara Kimball Played in 32 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 2-2 SB ... Scored 13 runs
     20 Taylor Orsburn .252 avg ... Also has 3.03 ERA ... 5th in SIU history in 2B (38) & 10th in HRs (20) ... Hit grand slams vs. Mur. St. & UE
     24 Alyssa Wunderlich 3-4 record ... 5.41 ERA ... 33.2 IP ... 19 SO ... Went 4.2 IP scoreless 3/8 vs. St. Joseph's
     25 Shaye Harre .385 avg & 30 RBIs in last 25 games ... 17th in nation among freshmen in RBIs/gm (33) ... .733 avg. w/runner on 3rd & LT 2 outs
     27 Katie Bertelsen 1.83 ERA in 7app. (6CG) from 3/15-4/1 ... CG SHO vs. DU ... Tm-best 11 Ws ... 6th in NCAA career SV among active plyrs (12)
     28 Taylor Harris Played in 27 games and started 11 ... In a 1-20 slump ... Singled and scored in G3 vs. Drake ... 3-11 as pinch hitter
     33 Meredith Wilson Preseason All-MVC ... Broke out of 1-11 slump with 2B at SLU (10-32 since) ... Hit in 7 of last 10G ... 11 2-out RBIs
     40 Brook Womack Has played in 18 games, starting 5 ... Has scored 4 R and has 1 RBI
      Team 18-3 with 6+ runs; 3-16 with 0-5 runs ... .338 team BA in wins; .199 BA in losses ... Outscored opp. 36-13 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 junior Katie Bertelsen has emerged as the staff ace. In her first seven appearances after MVC play started, Bertelsen had a 1.83 ERA and threw six complete games in her seven starts. She threw a complete-game shutout in the series opener against Drake and allowed more than two earned runs only twice. 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).

    Bertelsen has posted just a 3.55 ERA in MVC play and thrown seven complete games. She's recorded the W in six of SIU's nine conference wins. Although she's SIU's starter, she's also recorded three saves this year. With 12 saves now in her career, Bertelsen ranks sixth in the NCAA in career saves among active players.

    Third baseman Kelsea Ashton has just a .114 in non-conference games, but she has been one of SIU's best hitters in MVC play. In comparison to her .114/.159/.220 avg./slg./obp line in non-conference play, Ashton is putting up .324/.425/.412 numbers in SIU's 16 conference games. She's posted the team's fourth-best batting average in MVC play, and 11 of her 16 hits this season have come in Southern's 16 conference games.

    SIU senior Allie VadeBoncouer has been hit by 14 pitches this year. That marks 69 times in her career that VadeBoncouer has been hit by a pitch, second in NCAA history. VadeBoncouer passed Auburn's Myesha Finney (2006-09) for sole possession of second place on the NCAA's all-time HBP list by wearing one against Eastern Illinois on Wednesday. VadeBoncouer probably will have to settle for second on the list; the NCAA's career leader, Mariah Gearhart of Okahoma State (2008-11) blows away the field with an amazing 92 career HBPs.

    Jayna Spivey's name is already plastered all over the MVC and SIU record books, and she's again threatening to add her name on another record. Spivey has hit 14 doubles, which leads the conference and ranks 19th nationally. That's already tied for third in a single season in school history and just one away from tying teammate Taylor Orsburn's 2013 campaign for the all-time SIU lead. With four more doubles, Spivey will jump into the top-10 in MVC history in single-season doubles.

    SIU senior first baseman Taylor Orsburn, pitching for the first time in her SIU career, had a 1.95 ERA in her first 32.1 innings this year. In that span, she allowed hitters just a .242 average against her. To start MVC play, she was even better, posting an 1.21 ERA in her first 17.1 innings, which spanned five appearances. Hitters 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 before giving up an earned run in the blowout. After a rough stretch, Orsburn was back to her dominant ways with 2.2 scoreless innings on against EIU and solid weekends at Bradley and vs. Evansville to lower her season ERA to 3.03. She has picked up four wins this year, including a complete game win in the second game of the Evansville doubleheader in Carbondale.

    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 17th 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. 34 rank nationally out of 288 schools in doubles per game. Harre leads the team in home runs (4), RBIs (35) and triples (2), and she's done all that despite hitting just .194 with five RBIs in her first 13 games.

    Harre was unstoppable against Evansville. The freshman from Nashville, Ill., reached base in all nine of her plate appearances (one by error) and went 5-for-6 to raise her batting average from below .300 to .325 in just one day.

    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 27 games since, both players have been playing at an All-MVC level. Spivey is hitting .393 and has raised her average all the way to .346 for the season. She's posted an OBP of .500 and a slugging percentage of .674. She has 11 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 24 RBIs in that 27-game span alone. Harre has been nearly as good. She has hit .385 with a .500 OBP and .667 slugging percentage. She's hit eight doubles, a triple and four home runs in addition to her 30 RBIs in that span.

    SIU's series finale at Missouri State marked her 800th career game, all of which have come 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 .661 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches.

    SIU has gone 6-1 on Sunday this year since the first weekend of the season, including a perfect 4-0 mark in MVC play. Eleven different Salukis are hitting better than .300 on Sundays, and five players are hitting .400 or better. As a team, the Salukis have a remarkable .356 average on Sundays, nearly 100 points better than opponents have managed off SIU's staff on Sundays (.265).

    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 by 24 despite playing the second-fewest games of the 10 MVC teams, ranks second in on-base percentage and ranks third in hit-by-pitches. 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.

    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.