Salukis Get Clutch Home Runs to Claim Doubleheader Sweep of Bears
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Saluki senior Alicia Garza hit two-out solo homers in the first inning of both games of tonight's doubleheader to give Southern Illinois leads it would not relinquish. SIU (18-10, 4-0) would go on to beat the Bears 3-0 and 8-3 at Killian Softball Stadium as MSU fell to 5-16, 0-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
After two quick strikeouts by Missouri State senior Lauren Supak (1-4), Garza put SIU on top 1-0. The Salukis would double their lead in the third and tack on the third run in the fifth inning.
Supak went the distance for Missouri State in the first game. She struck out six Salukis and only allowed six hits over seven innings of work. But the three earned runs were too much for the MSU offense to overcome.
SIU junior hurler Danielle Glosson threw seven scoreless innings en route to her ninth win of the season as she held Missouri State to five hits in game one. She struck out eight Bears and did not allow an MSU runner past second base.
Glosson continued to puzzle Missouri State batters in the nightcap. She came into the game in relief of SIU starter Alex Peters with two outs in the fourth inning. Glosson got out of a jam as Missouri State had runners on first and second and had cut the SIU lead to just one run. Glosson completed the game for SIU to earn her 10th win after not allowing a run to the Bears the remainder of the game. She struck out five MSU hitters in game two.
Freshman Kirstin Cutter led the Bears in game two as she went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. She led off the third inning with a bunt single and promptly stole second base. Junior Christa Gammon moved Cutter to third on a fielder's choice. Fellow junior Alaina Burkhart drove her in with a sac fly to right field as Cutter had to avoid the tag at home to plate the Bears first run of the night.
Missouri State cut the SIU lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning. The first three Bears of the inning reached base. Ashley Knehans led off the inning with a single up the middle. After a fielder's choice, Tyler Porter reached on a bunt single. A fly out gave the Bears two outs, but pinch-hitter Caitlin Chapin and Cutter each followed with two-out RBI singles.
The Bears would threaten again in the fifth. Jenna Schwark was hit by a pitch and Knehans and Raeven Replogle followed with singles to load the bases for MSU. But SIU hurler Glosson would strike out Porter and Stevie Pierce to end the Bears' rally.
Senior Lauren McGinley started game two for the Bears and allowed four runs in three and a third innings to suffer her sixth loss of the season. Missouri State reliever Natalie Rose would allow two runs in the sixth and in the seventh inning as SIU built its lead to 8-3. The Bears went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh innings as the Salukis finished the sweep of the Bears.
Missouri State and Southern Illinois will look to complete the three-game series tomorrow (March 20) at Killian Softball Stadium. Game time is set for 12:00 p.m.