Senior Jordan Birch notched her sixth shutout of the season in the
opener, scattering five hits and striking out five without issuing a
walk. In her last three starts, Birch is 3-0 in the circle and has
fanned 23 opposing hitters without issuing a walk. The Monroe,
Wash., native is now 12-8 on the season with a 1.88 ERA.
Offensively, sophomore Laura Canopy continued to swing a hot bat for
ISU, going 4 for 8 with a run scored. Junior Lauren Kellar finished
2 for 5 with an RBI, and fellow junior Jhavon Hamilton recorded a
pair of hits and scored two runs in six at-bats.
In the opener, Illinois State (20-14, 6-2 MVC) struck first,
scoring a pair of runs on redshirt sophomore Sara Bradley’s two-run
double to right center that plated Canopy and freshman Lindsey
Greene. SIU (19-9, 6-2 MVC) had an error by the second baseman that
extended the frame and allowed a third Redbird run to score. Kellar
followed the error with an RBI single to left, and junior Elizabeth
Kay capped the five-run inning with a single to left that scored
The five runs of support would be all that Birch would need, as
she allowed just three hits over the final five innings and did not
allow a Saluki base runner to advance past first.
ISU had a chance to extend its lead in the top of the seventh,
after back-to-back one-out singles by senior Lizzie Andrews and
Canopy, but Southern Illinois starter Katie Bertelsen induced a pair
of fly-outs to end the frame.
Illinois State struck first in the nightcap, taking advantage of
a Saluki error to plate a run and grab a 1-0 lead. Hamilton led off
the game with a single up the middle, advanced to second on a
sacrifice bunt by Kellar and scored when a hard grounder off
Andrews’ bat was mishandled by the SIU shortstop.
ISU starter Megan Warner pitched out of a jam in the bottom of
the first, before surrendering the tying run in the bottom of the
second. Meredith Wilson reached on an error to lead off SIU’s half
of the frame and moved into scoring position with Jayna Spivey’s
sacrifice bunt. Kayln Harker delivered a two-out single to score
Kara Kimball, who pinch ran for Wilson, and knot the score at 1-1.
[to top of second column]
SIU, which entered the series as the top-hitting team in the
Valley, plated two more in the bottom of the fourth to open up a 3-1
lead. Morgan Barchan set the table with a one-out single, and Harker
walked to give the Salukis a pair of base runners with just one out.
Kelsea Ashton drove both in with a key two-out single, and Warner
was lifted after 3 2-3 innings, following the second Redbird error.
Freshman Sophia Perez came out of the bullpen to record the final
out of the inning and limit the damage.
Illinois State had an opportunity to cut into the lead in its
half of the sixth, as it loaded the bases with two outs. Canopy led
off the inning with a single back up the middle, Bradley drew a
walk, and pinch hitter Kelsey Turczyn was hit by a pitch to fill the
bags. However, ISU could not capitalize, as Alyssa Wunderlich came
out of the bullpen and got Hamilton to ground out to end the threat.
Southern Illinois broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth,
scoring three more runs to push its advantage to 6-1. Ashton drove
her in third run of the game with a one-out single that chased Perez
from the circle, and Allie VadeBoncouer capped the scoring with a
two-run single off ISU reliever Taylor Baxter.
The Redbirds loaded the bases once again in their half of the
seventh, but they were unable to come up with the big hit, as
Wunderlich closed out the game and recorded her first save of the
season. On the game, the ISU stranded 12 base runners, including six
in its final two at-bats.
Warner suffered the loss and fell to 7-5 on the year, allowing
three runs, two earned, on five hits in 3 2-3 innings. Brittney Lang
claimed the victory for SIU, improving her record to 5-3 in 5 2-3
innings of work.
The Redbirds and Salukis were to decide the series in the rubber
match Sunday at noon.
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score
[Text from file received from