Softball finishes 2-2 in Puerto Vallarta Challenge


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.

The undefeated SIU Softball team (6-2) traveled to Mexico earlier this week to try to extend their win streak to start the season. The Dawgs started strong and finished hard with wins on the first and final days of the tournament against Kansas (5-4, 0-1 Conference) and Sacramento State (3-6) in five innings. However, the Salukis fell to Ole Miss (6-3) on day two in five innings and to North Dakota State (4-6)on day three.

SIU’s hot streak to start the season continued on Tuesday with a complete game performance by junior pitcher Madi Eberle. Although she allowed her first earned run of the year in the outing, she only allowed five hits and struck out three in the game, limiting the Jayhawks opportunities. Eberle did give up the lead to Kansas off a sac fly in the fourth, but the Saluki offense backed her up in the bottom half of the inning.

Aubree Depron, Emma Austin, and Bailey Caylor combined for three hits to load the bases, and with Tori Schullian’s patience, she walked and the Dawgs were tied back up at two, with a chance for more. Elizabeth Warwick, broke things open for Southern with a one-out, bases clearing double to get back in front at 5-2 for the game winner.


The next day, the Salukis undefeated streak came to a halt, facing against SEC opponent Ole Miss. The game ended early after the Rebels scored nine runs in the second off starting pitcher Hannah Hockerman, including a grand slam. The Saluki offense was also shut down early, going 0-5 with runners in scoring position and leaving 6 on base throughout, ending in a 13-0 final in the fifth.

Another rough start occurred the next day against North Dakota State, with the Bison scoring three in the first off starter Madi Eberle, two of them being earned runs. Eberle was pulled in the fifth to give Elliot Stinson a shot at relieving. Stinson’s command was shot after one inning, with two wild pitches and three walks to give the Bison an insurance run, without even needing a hit.

But the Dawgs offense persisted. Rylie Hamilton sac fly gave SIU their first run, then Anna Carder cut the deficit to one run with a two-out single to left center.

The Salukis had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the sixth with a runner at second, but Jackie Lis struck out swinging, leaving the Dawgs to just three outs left. The Bison had an insurance run added in the top of the seventh, and three straight batters were retired for SIU in the bottom half to drop their second game of the year.

Lis and Hockerman both redeemed themselves the next day against Sac State with a two hit day for Lis and Hockerman earning the relief win after four innings of work.

The SIU offense powered their way past the Hornets, scoring at least two in all four innings of play, before run-ruling Sacramento. Great runs on the basepaths allowed Warwick and Lis to score off Carder’s hard ground out, earning a 2-0 lead right away. Two throwing errors on the same play in the second scored two more runs. A single by Depron and another wild pitch made it 6-0 in the third.

Then the killing blow occurred in the 4th, with a sac bunt by Jenna Christeson, a bases loaded single by Austin, then a hit by pitch gave the Dawgs the 8-run lead they needed to end things early. Eberle came in to close things out for Hockerman, forcing the Hornets into a double play to end the game 9-1 in the fifth.


The Dawgs will be back in action at Charlotte West stadium for their first homestand of the year this upcoming Friday, the 24th, with a game against Northern Kentucky (2-3), and a 2:15 first pitch.

Sports editor Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Jojobernard2001. 

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