After split doubleheader victories Friday between SIU and Indiana State, the Salukis’ strong defense and dominant pitches from freshman Alyssa Wunderlich helped them win against the Sycamores Saturday in the Missouri Valley Conference series at Charlotte West Stadium.
The Sycamores won the first game Friday 4-2, while the Salukis took the second game 5-0.
At Saturday’s game, Saluki fans and players wore pink in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer foundation for the American Cancer Society.
Wunderlich led the Salukis (22-10, 9-3 Missouri Valley Conference) Saturday to clinch a 3-1 victory against Indiana State (13-22, 1-11 MVC), and she claimed her ninth consecutive win this season.
The pitcher struck out two players and resisted walks for six and two-thirds innings. Freshman pitcher Brittney Lang substituted for Wunderlich and closed out the Sycamores in the
Senior co-captain and centerfielder Mallory Duran-Sellers went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the 5-0 win against the Sycamores. Duran-Sellers said the second game was the turning point for the Salukis.
“We just didn’t get the job done (in the first game),” Duran-Sellers said. “We didn’t look comfortable on the field, and when it comes down to it, they out played us.”
Coach Kerri Blaylock said although she wanted a three-game sweep against Indiana State during the weekend series, she said she was satisfied overall with the Salukis’ work and consistency in making defensive plays. Blaylock said she looks forward to today’s game against University of Tennessee-Martin.
“I wanted to sweep this weekend, I really did,” Blaylock said. “Indiana State had other plans and they played very well, but we won two out of three, and now let’s worry about UT-Martin.”
Blaylock said her freshmen pitchers were able to close out the game for a win.
Wunderlich said the key to her game is to remain humble and focused.
“I think (the game) was a good indication of how we’re going to be for the rest of conference,” Wunderlich said. “I’m just taking it pitch by pitch instead of looking at the big picture.”
The team also raised cancer awareness during the game.
The softball team and the Saluki Athletics department collected donations from fans in support of the American Cancer Society. Saluki Athletics auctioned off prizes as a way to give back to people who helped raise awareness in the Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser.
Blaylock said because she lost her father and brother to kidney cancer, she does her best to support the cause. She said she will continue to donate and fight against cancer with other coaches in the MVC, as well as the American Cancer Society.
“Raising awareness for cancer, as well as any matter of sickness, is extremely important,” Blaylock said. “I’ll always support this cause because it has affected my life and family.”