Softball win streak ends at 16 as they took three out of five in Birmingham


Subash Kharel | @pics.leaks

SIU players huddle up during a game against Northern Kentucky University on Friday, Mar. 5, 2021 at Charlotte Softball Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

Saluki softball traveled to Birmingham, Ala., with a 14-game win streak and left winning three out of five, returning to Carbondale 17-2.

On day one of the Blazer Classic, SIU picked up wins over both Ball State and the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB).

In game one, SIU jumped on the Cardinals early in the first inning when senior infielder Jenny Jansen brought home fifth year senior infielder Maddy Vermejan with a single to center field.


Jansen then stole home to give the Salukis a 2-0 lead after one inning. Ball State would answer with a run in the third inning on a double to center field which was their lone run of the game for the Cardinals.

Sophomore pitcher Sarah Harness kept Ball State at bay pitching all seven innings giving up one run on six hits to go along with five strikeouts as SIU won 7-1.

In game two, the Salukis crossed the plate four times in the second inning, with Vermejan leading the charge with a single that brought two runs home to start the inning.

“I thought in the first game we came out and we were good in the circle, played solid defense and it was a good overall performance,” head coach Kerri Blaylock said. “In game two, we faced Oklahoma transfer Parker Conrad, who is a good pitcher that throws the ball hard. I thought our kids did a good job of putting together quality at-bats, our defense was fantastic and all three of our pitchers threw solid innings. All in all, it was a good show.” 

Southern performed well against the Blazers scoring runners from third in four out of six opportunities, helping lead them to a 6-1 win.

Once again, the Saluki pitchers performed well, with freshman pitcher Madi Eberle leading the way pitching three and two thirds innings allowing five hits and giving up one run while striking out two.

After playing UAB, SIU had a quick turn around the next day with first pitch against Samford at 10 am.


SIU was able to put runners on base in four of the seven innings they had against the Bulldogs but were unable to push a run across as they fell 2-0.

Eberle and sophomore pitcher Carlee Jo Clark pitched in the game, with Eberle giving up the two runs in the fifth inning on a home run.

Southern threatened to come back and win with the tying run at the plate and junior infielder Sydney Sikes on base with a walk, but freshman infielder Elisabeth Huckleberry struck out swinging to end the threat.

In game two of the day SIU faced off against UAB and this contest proved to be a pitchers’ duel as Harness went against the Blazers pitcher sophomore Sarah Cespedes.

Harness went all eight and one-third inning as the game went into extra innings after both teams were knotted at zero after seven.

With the extra inning rules, the Blazers started the ninth with a runner on second and then got a single to move the runner to third.

Another single by UAB would bring the runner from third home and was the deciding run in the game as SIU dropped the second game of the day 1-0. 

In the final game of the weekend, the Salukis got their opportunity for redemption against Samford with first pitch set for 11 a.m.

Clark pitched six scoreless innings against the Bulldogs, while Vermejan and Jansen got the Salukis on the board in the first inning with a double steal to lead 1-0.

Sophomore outfielder Tori Schullian would help bring in two insurance runs in the first inning with her first career home run to give SIU a 3-0 lead.

“What stands out the most to me is that we have 19 players, and 11 of them have played fewer than 37 career games,” Blaylock said. “And when you look at and consider that, then you remember how we finished last season and started this season, that’s what impressed me the most. We have some key veterans but we also have other kids that don’t know what it is like to play a full Division I season much less lose multiple games in a row

Clark allowed six hits across her six innings of play, but no runner touched home for the Bulldogs, and Harness replaced Clark in the seventh and she struck out all three batters she faced.

The Salukis will face off against SEMO in Carbondale on Tuesday with first pitch set for 3 p.m. against the Redhawks.

Sports Reporter Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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