Salukis sweep Shockers in Carbondale


Matt Crow

Wichita State senior Ashley Johnson (5) prepares to swing Wednesday against Missouri State. (Apr. 19, 2017)

With Wichita State softball trying to stay on top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings, attempting to claim their second straight and final regular season title, the Shockers suffered a road bump.

The Shockers fell short to Southern Illinois in Sunday’s doubleheader, losing by one run in each game in Carbondale, Illinois. The losses moved WSU into fourth place, four games behind Illinois State at first.

WSU and SIU did not play Saturday’s scheduled games due to inclement weather.

SIU’s Merri Anne Patterson knocked out two home runs out of Charlotte West Stadium in the second and fourth innings to give the Salukis a two-run advantage. Sydney Jones scored another run later in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice that pushed the Salukis ahead by three.

Brianna Jones kept WSU quiet for the first six innings until a late rally gave the Shockers a chance to extend game one. After a Macklin Hitz single, sophomore Laurie Derrico hammered her 10th home run of the season with two outs to cut the deficit down to one run.

Sophomore Asea Webber reached first on an error in centerfield, but an Ashley Johnson groundout to Jones ended game one and WSU’s hopes of a comeback.

The Salukis kept riding momentum in game two, scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly and a home run by Sydney Jones in the bottom of the second inning. It took WSU two quiet innings before getting their bats going in the top of the fifth. A single by junior McKenzie Adams scored senior Kelli Spring and junior Mackenzie Wright to tie the game at two.

SIU responded in the sixth inning by getting two runners on base on an error by Derrico at shortstop and Patterson drawing a walk to get to first. Shaye Harre capitalized on the opportunity by hitting one over the outfield fence that gave the Salukis a commanding threerun lead.

WSU fought to stay alive in the final half inning of play, with Wright hitting a leadoff home run to cut the Shockers’ deficit down to two. After the SIU forced two straight outs, Hitz got in scoring position on a double, bringing in Kennedy Long to pinch run.

Like she did in game one, Derrico delivered in game two. Her single allowed Long to score from second base and cut the SIU lead down to one with two outs in the half inning. The Shockers, however, were not able to end that momentum in positive fashion as Webber lined out to third base to end game two in a 5-4 loss.

WSU (27-17, 12-7) continues conference play on Tuesday when they travel to Springfield, Missouri, to take on Missouri State at 5 p.m. The Shockers and the Bears split the first two games at Wilkins Stadium, with the Bears taking game one 4-0 and the Shockers taking game two by the same score.