Softball defeats Salukis in Saturday contest


Series finale set for 12 p.m. on Sunday

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Freshman Jess Willsey was a perfect 3-for-3 with four RBI on Saturday to pace the University of Evansville softball team to a 4-3 victory over Southern Illinois at Tri-State Orthopaedics Field at James and Dorothy Cooper Stadium.

Each of Willsey’s hits resulted in RBIs as the Purple Aces earned a huge rebound victory.  Jenna Nink scored three runs while earning two walks and a hit.

Sydney Weatherford encountered some trouble in the first inning with four of the first five batters reaching base, resulting in a 1-0 lead for the Salukis.  Weatherford escaped further damage as she recorded the last two outs.  With one out in the bottom of the first, three 1-out walks loaded the bases.   Facing a 3-2 count, Jess Willsey doubled to left field to score Jenna Nink and Taylor Howe and give UE a 2-1 lead.

Jenna Nink opened the bottom half of the third with an infield single.  After a Howe sacrifice advanced her to second, Jess Willsey came through once again.  Another double to left field scored Nink and gave UE a 3-1 edge.  Southern Illinois manufactured a run in the fourth to get back within one before an RBI single tied the game in the fifth.

For the third time in the contest, it was Willsey picked up the big hit.  With two outs, her single to right field score Nink to put the Aces back in the lead.  SIU put its first two runners on to begin the top of half of the 6th but Megan Brenton, who entered at the top of the frame, pitched out of the jam to keep her squad on top.

Brenton recorded her fourth save of the season as she sat the Salukis down in order to clinch the win.  Weatherford earned her third victory of 2023.

Sunday’s series finale is set for a 12 p.m. start time.