Softball Dominate Valparaiso for 7th win in a row, off to best start in over 30 years


Lylee Gibbs @lyleegibbsphotography

Rylie Hamilton (1) cheers as she walks back into the dugout after putting the Salukis on the board for the first run of the game with her solo home run Mar. 19, 2023 at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

The Saluki Softball team (22-3) keeps grinding, as they now have sported the best start to a season since the 1991 season. The Dawgs took down Valparaiso this past weekend, scoring 32 runs across the three games and only allowing one run (which was unearned), including two shutouts on Friday. The Dawgs have now won seven in a row and 17 of their last 18 games.

Both games on Friday ended early in the fifth off the run-rule after the Dawgs combined for 5 runs in the first innings of both games. Jackie Lis was on fire in game two, hitting three home runs in three at-bats to put herself in the history books as the only Saluki to do so in one game. That’s the third game this past week where she’s had multiple homers. Game two also had the Dawgs hit a season-high for hits as a team, with 14 total.

The Saluki pitching staff also grinded their way to just 2 hits allowed on Friday against the Beacons. Hannah Hockerman and Elliot Stinson each allowed just one hit and no runs through both games. Stinson pitched a near-perfect game, not allowing a single base-runner until a lead-off single opened up the fifth. The pair of freshmen combined for 11 strikeouts on the day and each earned wins by pitching from start to finish.


Game three was more of the same. The Dawgs recorded 10 hits in another game that finished early for the run rule. Rylie Hamilton opened it up with a solo blast in the second. Hamilton and Lis would return the next inning with that same momentum for back-to-back solo rbi singles. Anna Carder would follow in Hamilton’s footsteps, with another long-ball to bring in two more runs and a 5-0 lead in the third.

The Beacons would earn their first run of the series in the top of the fourth off a fielding error by Jenna Christeson. The Dawgs would earn that run back later in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some command problems by the Beacon pitching staff. Three walks and a wild pitch set up bases loaded for Bailey Caylor. She would walk as well as Emma Austin to earn two more runs and give Depron a chance to end it with a base-hit. 

She did just that with a single up the middle to score two runners and walk it off, and the celebration was on. The Dawgs won game three 9-1 in five innings and have perhaps one of the best starts in program history under their belt.

SIU will look to make it eight wins in a row on Wednesday with a midweek road matchup at Cape Girardeau against SEMO (11-8, 4-1). That game will start with a 3 pm first pitch time.

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

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