The Southern Illinois University softball team picked up its second win of the season, after Brianna Jones threw a no-hit shutout against Mississippi Valley State on Saturday night. Jones pitched seven innings, had 10 strikeouts, and was one error and walk away from a perfect game.
“I thought she [Brianna Jones] threw really well tonight,” head coach Kerri Blaylock. “She was hitting on all her pitches and connecting on all her spots. She just had total command of the game.”
Southern started its day with a 3-1 loss to Nicholls State. Saluki sophomore Nicole Doyle got her first start of the season and made the most of it. She set the tone in the first inning by recording two strikeouts, then picked up two more in the second. She finished the game with six strikeouts and only allowed two hits. NSU picked up those hits in a timely manner in the fifth inning. After a lead off walk, Nicholls found three open gaps for three singles against Doyle and Brianna Jones, who came in relief, to score two runs and take the lead.
“I felt like Nicole threw five very good innings,” Blaylock said. “It was her first start since March of last year and she did very well. Nicole is going to be very good for us this year, no doubt.”
NSU tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning to extend its lead to three before being retired by Jones. The bottom of the seventh began with two quick outs on two pitches for NSU before Merri Anne Patterson belted a 3-1 pitch over the left center field wall to give SIU its first run of the game. It was Patterson’s 16th home run of her Saluki career.
“Nicholls is coming off a 39-win season…they are a very good team,” Blaylock said. “We out-hit them, but they were able to string hits together. We came up in few RBI situations and just didn’t produce.”
After a few hours off the Salukis were back in action to take on Mississippi Valley State. SIU got on MVSU early, scoring two runs off a Shaye Harre double. That proved to be all Jones needed on the mound to finish the game. The sophomore set MVSU down in order the first four innings and picked up five strikeouts in the process.
SIU added three more runs between the third and seventh inning to make it 5-0. One of those three runs was provided by Savannah Fisher, who hit her third home run of the season.
The bottom of the seventh was more Jones in the circle, as she silenced any thought of comeback from MVSU by striking out the side. In her two starts this season she has struck out 13 batters and held hitters to a .150 batting average.