Feb. 7, 2009

Courtesy of Southern Illinois

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - The Salukis softball team packed in a season worth of highlight plays in a 7-1 win over No. 20/24 Long Beach State and 3-1 victory against Oregon State in the first day of the Cathedral City Kickoff on Friday.

Southern Illinois (2-0) upended Long Beach State to start the day, which was SIU's first win over a top 25 opponent since knocking off No. 21 Illinois State on May 11, 2007 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

Sophomore pitcher Danielle Glosson (1-0) tossed an eight-strikeout complete-game and held the potent 49ers' offense to one run.

In game number two, sophomore pitcher Nikki Waters (1-0) earned the win in a complete-game, four-strikeout performance against the Beavers.

"The pitching staff and I have talked all season long so far about hitting certain sides of the plate, changing speeds and not putting the ball out over the plate," said head coach Kerri Blaylock. "I thought Nikki and Danielle both did a tremendous job on what we wanted to accomplish which put us in a position to win."

Southern Illinois 7 No. 20/24 Long Beach State 1
The Saluki broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth to take a lead they never gave up.

With runners on the corner and two outs, junior second baseman Alicia Garza and senior third baseman Katie Wagner delivered back-to-back RBI singles to put SIU in front 2-0.

The defensive play of the game came in the bottom of the fifth when LBSU had the bases loaded with one out, but came away empty handed after Wagner snagged a line drive and made a diving tag with her glove hand to double-up the runner at third.

Long Beach State answered an inning later in the bottom of the sixth with their only run of the game on a RBI bloop single by right fielder Danielle Linke to draw the 49ers within one, 2-1.

Southern Illinois' offense exploded in the ensuing top of the seventh for five runs on four hits to give Glosson a six-run cushion.

Wagner started the run burst with a two-RBI double off the left-center wall to score freshmen Haley Gorman and Mallory Duran, and following a walk by junior Katie Wilson, senior Jayme Wamsley blasted a three-run home run to left-center to make the final 7-1.

Garza went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Wagner, Wamsley and each recorded three RBI apiece to lead the SIU offense.

Gorman and Duran, batting No. 1 and 2 in the line up, also went 1-for-3 and 2-for-4 at the plate in their first career games.

"Mallory (Duran) and Haley (Gorman) really don't play like freshman because they have the talent level to play with anybody," said Blaylock. "They'll continue to learn, but they did very today."

Southern Illinois 3 Oregon State 1
Southern Illinois overcame an early 1-0 deficit to come-from-behind and beat Oregon State in game number two on Friday.

The Beavers scored on a RBI single by Audrey Roderfeld in the bottom of the first, but fell victim to SIU's solid defense the rest of the game.

The Salukis remained quiet all game until breaking out for three runs on four hits in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead.

With one out and runners on first and second, junior Katie Wilson drilled a two RBI double off the left-centerfield wall to give SIU its first lead of the game, 2-1.

"Wilson has really been taking some quality at bats and stayed steady all game," said Blaylock. "We had several hitters through the middle of the order really step up today."

Southern Illinois edged another run across on a thrilling suicide squeeze bunt laid down by senior Chelsea Petty to score Wilson who was barreling home after the released pitch.

The squeeze was set up by a key double-steal by Wilson and pinch runner Chelsea Held, which caught the Oregon State defense off guard.

The Salukis needed one more heroic play from the defense in the bottom of the seventh to secure their second win.

With two runners on and one out. Stefanie Ewing singled to right field, but Wilson relayed the ball Petty, who threw out pinch runner Kellie Roberts out at the plate.

Waters then got Paige Lowe to fly out to deep left center to end the game and preserve SIU's second straight win.

Southern Illinois will continue play at the Cathedral City Kickoff on Saturday against UC Davis and UC Riverside at 10:30 a.m. CST and 1 p.m. CST.