Senior makes inspired return from injury
In her first trip to the plate following an injury in March, senior Susan Norris hit a walk-off single as the University of Evansville earned a doubleheader split against Southern Illinois on Wednesday at Cooper Stadium.
Norris came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh of game one in a scoreless game and came through with the hit to give the Purple Aces (19-24, 10-7 MVC) a 1-0 win. In game two, she hit a 2-run home run as UE fell to Southern Illinois (23-21, 10-7 MVC) by a 10-7 score.
“We played a great game in the first one, Morgan threw an awesome game and Susan came in and got a huge hit,” Aces head coach Mat Mundell said. “She has been out and we did not know if we would even get her back. The second game got away from us a little bit, but I am proud of how we fought back. Danielle Cassidy pitched extremely well, it was her best outing so far.”
Game one was a defensive battle as the game remained scoreless until the final at-bat. Evansville starter Morgan Florey threw a 2-hit shutout in the game while striking out 12 batters en route to her 13th win of the season. Brianna Jones of SIU was just as impressive, giving up just one run in six innings of work.
The game changer came in the bottom of the seventh as Bailee Bostic led off with a double to right center field and was pinch run for by Courtney Land. Next up was Ashlee Kawall, who reached via a bunt single that moved Land to third with nobody out. Susan Norris then pinch hit, her first trip to the plate since suffering an injury in March. In a special moment, she singled to left for the only run of the game while clinching an Aces win.
Southern Illinois plated three runs in each of the first two innings of game two as they opened up a 10-2 lead after the top of the fourth in the second tilt. The two UE runs came off the bat of Norris as she hit a home run to deep left field to get the Aces on the board in the second.
Two innings later, UE made it interesting, scoring four times. Chandra Parr hit a home run while Brittany Hay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Michal Luckett notched a 2-RBI hit, but the deficit was too much as Evansville dropped the 10-7 decision.
UE is back at Cooper Stadium on Saturday for a doubleheader against Indiana State. Game one is set to begin at 12 p.m.