CARBONDALE – The Southern Illinois University softball team split a doubleheader with Missouri State on Tuesday, falling to the Bears 5-3 in the first game and powering to an 11-2 five-inning win in the nightcap.
The Salukis couldn’t get a runner in from third base in the first game, but Charlotte West Stadium couldn’t hold the SIU bats in the second game. Ashley Wood, Jordan Spicer, Jenny Jansen and Kyleigh Decker all homered in the second game.
Missouri State scored in just two innings, but defeated the Salukis 5-3 in the first game.
The Bears scored two runs in the third and three runs in the seventh to win in come-from-behind fashion. Both Missouri State rallies began when losing pitcher Brianna Jones walked Darby Joerling, Missouri State’s ninth-place hitter to open the inning.
After Joerling walked to open the second, Kyana Mason bunted toward third baseman Sidney Sikes. Sikes threw to second in an attempt to force Joerling, but the speedy centerfielder beat the throw.
The Bears got run scoring singles from Daphne Plummer and Madison Hunsaker to tie the game at the time.
“Where I thought we got into trouble we were a little careful pitching to them,” said SIU coach Kerri Blaylock. “We need to pitch to contact, not worry so much about making the big pitch. I think Bri wanted to be just a little too perfect with them. The nine-hole hitter that walked twice scored, and that’s the difference in the ball game.”
Fast forward to the seventh when the Bears were trailing 3-2. Joerling again walked to open the inning. Again, Mason bunted toward third. Sikes fielded the ball, but double-clutched, allowing Mason to reach first.
Jones was lifted in favor of Claire Miller, but Dickerson drove in the tying run and Rachel Weber’s two-out single chased home the go-ahead runs.
The Salukis opened the scoring in the first when Ashley Wood lined a home run over the left field fence after a Maddy Vermejan walk.
After Missouri State tied the game in the third, SIU regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on Katelyn Massa’s bloop double. Massa’s hit scored Wood from third base.
Wood started the rally with a one-out single and moved to third on Jenny Jansen’s single.
Massa’s double left runners on second and third with just one out, but SIU failed to add to its lead. The Salukis also had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but failed to score. SIU stranded eight runners in the game.
It didn’t take long for the Salukis to get past the disappointing first game loss.
Wood and Jordan Spicer both bombed three-run homers in the first inning, staking SIU to a 7-1 lead.
“I knew she was hanging it,” said Wood. “I was able to time her up on deck. She left it over the plate. I was just able to get a hold of it and under it. It was great. It felt like we got our momentum back and we were able to roll with it from there.”
The Salukis wrapped up the game with two more homers in the bottom of the fifth.
Jansen drilled a tee shot over the left field wall to start the fifth. After Massa was hit by a pitch, Decker deposited the ball well over the left field fence, clinching the game.
“I just think (associate head coach) Jen (Sewell) talked to them about squaring the ball up,” Blaylock said. “We scouted them pretty well. We didn’t make some adjustments in the first game. In the second game we did a great job.”
Miller went the distance to pick up the win in the second game.
The Salukis return to MVC play this weekend when Drake comes to Carbondale for a three-game set.