The Billikens took a break from Atlantic 10 play last night to take on Southern Illinois University. SLU split the double header with the Salukis.
In the afternoon matinee, sophomore pitcher Brianna Lore pitched her first career no hitter in the 1-0 victory. Lore only allowed two runners to reach second base, walking three batters and hitting one.
Lore also had a hand in the Billikens lone run. She hit a double in the fifth inning, and freshman pinch runner Brittany Durant scored on sophomore Elizabeth Everingham’s mishandled ground ball.
SLU lost the nightcap 9-3. The Salukis scored one third of their runs in the first two innings. SLU kept the game tight in the first at the start, scoring a run in each of the first two innings. The score was 3-2 Southern Illinois going into the third inning. The Salukis then added two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
SLU started the second game with a hot bat. Junior Lindsay Friedman led off with a single and then stole second base. The next batter, freshman Alex Nickel walked and senior Kelsey Biggs’ single loaded the bases. Friedman then scored a run on a sacrifice fly by Lore.
Everingham scored the second run in the game after hitting a double and scoring after two teammates’ singles. The Billikens went on the board for the last time in the seventh inning when sophomore Ellie Huffman doubled, advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on another Lore single. With the 9-3 loss, sophomore pitcher Laney Kneib had the loss, making her 4-5.
Earlier in the week on Saturday, March 22, the team faced their first A-10 opponent, Massachusetts. The Billikens swept the Minutewomen in the doubleheader with scores of 2-1 and 6-4. Aiding in the team’s win were the 14 walks they drew over the two games. Lore picked up the win in both of these games.
Caroline Raymond pitched the first game for UMass. Though the Bills only managed to get two hits off of her on the game, they drew eight walks. Freshman Mackenzie Peter drew a walk in the first inning with the bases loaded to score Friedman. UMass tied the game 1-1 in the third inning. SLU struck for the final run in the game in the fifth inning. Peter stepped up to bat with the bases loaded and one out. She hit a single to left field, which allowed the eventual game-winning run to score. On the game, she was 2-2 with two RBIs and a walk.
In the second game of the afternoon, Massachusetts was the first on the scoreboard, scoring two runs in the first inning. Saint Louis didn’t stay down long and scored three runs in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third inning.
The Minutewomen added two more runs again in the third inning, but Everingham answered in the bottom half of the inning with a solo homerun, tying the game at 4 going into the fourth. In the sixth inning, Friedman stepped up to bat. With the go-ahead run at first base, she homered to left-center field, which gave SLU a 6-4 lead. This sealed the game for the Billikens, who held Massachusetts scoreless in the seventh.
Over the two games, SLU had 11 hits and 14 walks for an on-base percentage of .467. In her 10 innings pitched, Lore held UMass to a batting average of .167 with six hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
The Billikens are 15-12 overall since the season started on Feb. 7. So far, they have only played two in-conference games and they are 2-0. SLU has collected wins over Jackson State, Houston Baptist, Northern Colorado, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Missouri State, Southeast Missouri State, Western Michigan and conference-opponent Massachusetts, among others.
Losses have come against Tennessee State, Arkansas Pine Buff, Mississippi, Wichita State, Louisiana Tech, North Dakota State and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The team has traded wins with Kansas, Southern Illinois, UT Martin and North Carolina A&T.
Leading the statistics for pitchers on the season thus far is Lore. She has the lowest ERA on the team between the two other pitchers with 2.84. Peter is leading the team in batting average at .333.
SLU will continue conference play on March 29 against Rhode Island. The double-header at the Billiken Sports Complex begins at noon.