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The Southern Illinois University softball team dropped both games of a weekend opening doubleheader on Saturday against Drake following strong pitching performances in both games.

"Drake pitched extremely well today, and to be honest, we pitched pretty well too," SIU coach Kerri Blaylock said. "Brianna [Jones] threw a great game and Savanna [Dover] threw pretty well too. We didn't make any adjustments hitting wise. All week we worked on hitting ground balls and all we hit was fly balls … When you play good pitching like that, you have to come out of a comfort zone and make some adjustments."

In game one, the Salukis trotted out Brianna Jones to face off against Drake's pitcher Nicole Newman. Jones and Newman put up a classic pitcher's duel holding both teams to a combined one run and six hits.

Jones threw a complete game while striking out six and walking three batters and did not allow an earned run. Unfortunately for the Salukis, Jones' counterpart had the upper hand. Newman struck out 17 in the 1-0 victory.

In game two, senior pitcher Savanna Dover faced off against freshman Nicole Timmons. Drake jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

In the top of the fourth, Sydney Jones uncorked her fourth home run of the season, a two run shot to left to make it a one-run ball game.

Drake answered in the bottom of the fourth with two more and didn't look back. The Bulldogs closed the game out with four unanswered runs to win 7-2.

"We've got to follow our game plan tomorrow," Blaylock said. "I like to talk about the positives. The positives were we had pretty good pitching today and we held a pretty good offensive team in check, which I thought was a good thing."

The Salukis close out the series with Drake at 1 p.m. today.

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