Eagles advance in consolation bracket after 10-inning victory


PEORIA, Ill. – University of Southern Indiana Softball bounced back from a 7-3 loss against Eastern Illinois University at the start of Thursday’s action from the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to keep its season alive with a 10-9 victory over Tennessee Tech University in 10 innings Thursday night.
The day started with Southern Indiana (24-21, 16-11 OVC), the no. 4 seed, taking on top-seeded Eastern Illinois (39-15, 22-5 OVC). The Panthers tallied the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI double following a leadoff hit-by-pitch. Southern Indiana answered right away in its next trip to the dish in the top of the second inning, as freshman Kate Satkoski (Lanesville, Indiana) delivered a two-RBI hit up the middle to put USI in front, 2-1.
In the top of the third inning, freshman infielder Sydney Long (Haubstadt, Indiana) got an RBI knock to push the Screaming Eagles ahead 3-1. After USI scored its third run, Eastern Illinois made a pitching change. The Panthers’ OVC Freshman of the Year pitcher Mackenzie Oslanzi was switched out for senior pitcher Olivia Price.
The Panthers took back the momentum in the bottom of the fourth, retaking a 5-3 lead with a home run in the inning, and then added another pair of runs in the sixth to lead 7-3.
Southern Indiana tried to come back in the top of the seventh inning, getting two baserunners on with consecutive one-out singles. However, the USI rally fell short, as the Screaming Eagles suffered their first loss of the tournament and were forced to play an elimination game against 7-seeded Tennessee Tech (23-24, 12-13 OVC) on Thursday evening.
Offensively, USI scored three runs on seven hits against Eastern Illinois. Satkoski went 2-3 with two RBIs, and senior catcher Sammie Kihega (Greenfield, Indiana) also registered a couple of hits with two runs.
Junior pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) was dealt the loss. Newman lasted five innings, striking out three and allowing seven runs in the start.
Price moved to 11-9 with the win. Price tossed 4.1 shutout innings in relief of Oslanzi, who went the first 2.2 innings in the no-decision.
In the must-win nightcap against Tennessee Tech, USI got an early boost after Satkoski caught a fly ball and then threw a dart home to get a double play. Southern Indiana responded on the offensive end with a run in the top of the second inning off a productive RBI out from senior outfielder Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana).
USI’s early 1-0 advantage did not last long with the Golden Eagles striking for five runs in the bottom of the second inning, including four on a grand slam, to surge ahead 5-1.
The Screaming Eagles were not fazed, posting a five-run inning in the top of the third to cancel out Tennessee Tech’s big second inning. After another RBI hit by Satkoski, going for two bases, a bases-loaded walk brought USI within two, 5-3. With the bases still loaded and after a pitching change by Tennessee Tech, it was Newman in the designated player spot who delivered the next key hit. Newman served a ball into the left-center gap to the fence and cleared the bases with a double to propel Southern Indiana back in front, 6-5.
The offensive scoring continued in the bottom of the third, as Tennessee Tech received a two-out three-RBI triple to retake the lead, 8-6.
Southern Indiana mounted a charge in the top of the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Tennessee Tech got out of the jam and maintained a two-run lead. It was only an inning later when USI cashed in. With runners at first and second base, Kihega drove both runners in with a double in the alley and knot the game up at eight in the top of the sixth.
Each side exchanged a run in the bottom of the sixth inning and top of the seventh inning, respectively, to keep the game tied at nine. The contest went on to extra innings.
Neither team could muster a run in the eighth and ninth frames. In the top of the tenth, USI got its go-ahead run. Junior outfielder Kennedy Nalley (Huntingburg, Indiana) reached base on a dropped fly ball by the Golden Eagles. Senior first baseman Lexi Fair (Greenwood, Indiana) followed by driving a ball into the right-center gap, allowing Nalley to score from first base and put USI up for good, 10-9.
Fair recorded two doubles and two RBIs in the game. Satkoski continued her solid day with two hits, a run, and an RBI. Newman tallied two hits and three RBIs, while Kihega notched two RBIs and a run scored. USI posted 10 runs on 11 hits.
USI used all three of its pitchers in the game. Newman was the last one to take the ball in relief, getting the win to go to 21-9 on the year. The junior pitched 7.1 innings in relief with only one unearned run allowed.
The loss went to Tennessee Tech’s freshman reliever Emily York (8-5). York threw the last eight innings for the Golden Eagles.
The Screaming Eagles survived to play another game on Friday. Southern Indiana will take on 3-seed Tennessee State University at 11 a.m. Friday in another elimination game from Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria, Illinois.
All games are streamed with a subscription to ESPN+. All USI games can also be heard on The Spin 95.7 FM. Additional coverage links can be found on the USI Softball schedule page on usiscreamingeagles.com.