Salukis lose first home games of season, drop series to Bradley


Erin Lee (24) goes down for the tag as Kaiah Fenters (17) of Valparaiso attempts to steal as the Salukis took on the Beacons at home in a weekend series Mar. 19, 2023 at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

The SIU softball team lost two of three games against the Bradley Braves this weekend, breaking their 17-game home win streak to start the season.

The Dawgs lost 4-3 on Friday and 6-5 on Saturday, but managed to pull out a 3-2 win on Sunday.

Sunday’s victory also marked the Salukis 30th win this season.


Madi Eberle started Friday’s game and went all seven innings. She struck out seven and gave up nine hits and three earned runs. Bradley’s other run came via a first inning error by Rylie Hamilton.

SIU was led offensively by Hamilton’s strong outing in which she went 3-4 with a trio of singles. Emma Austin went two for four and was hit by a pitch and Anna Carder blasted the Dawgs’ only home run of the game and her third of the season.

As a team, the Salukis managed 10 hits in 28 at bats. While they were hitting very well, they just couldn’t bring runners home, as they left nine stranded on base.

Bradley led or was tied for the entire game, but SIU challenged them at several points. Carder’s two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth tied the game, and the bottom of the sixth was full of potential. Bradley walked Jackie Lis with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to force in a run, but SIU ultimately couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity and lost the game.

SIU’s losing streak climbed to eight with the loss on Saturday. Hannah Hockerman started the game but only lasted 3.2 innings while giving up four earned runs on three hits. Eberle entered in relief and pitched the last 3.1 innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits.

The Salukis started the game strong, shelling Bradley for three runs in the bottom of the first. Haley Wilkerson’s single down the right field line brought home both Hamilton and Lis. Wilkerson then stole second, and pinch runner Chloe Scroggins scored off of Austin’s single to third base.

SIU added to their lead in the bottom of the third. Wilkerson’s sacrifice bunt again allowed Hamilton to score, pushing the Dawgs’ lead to 4-2.


Bradley wouldn’t go away, and scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 4 apiece. Hamilton, who got hit by a pitch, advanced Lis to second, putting her into scoring position just in time for Carder’s double in right-cemter to regain the lead, 5-4.

The runs would end there for SIU. Bradley managed to punch in two more in the top of the seventh, making the final score 6-5 and marking a second consecutive home loss after the huge home winning streak to start the year.

Sunday found the Salukis hungry to win at home. Eberle, who once again stood in the circle and pitched for the third day in a row, delivered her best performance of the series. She tossed a complete game and gave up only one earned run on three hits, throwing 104 pitches in the process.

The offense was dialed in and managed several timely hits, something that was sorely lacking in the first two games of the series.

However, the first inning was a little shaky for SIU. On the first play of the game, Austin had an error in the field, which allowed a runner to reach second. Bradley scored an unearned run two batters later.

The Dawgs’ offense finally woke up during the bottom of the fourth. Wilkerson’s sacrifice bunt advanced pinch runner Kerrigan Gamm to second while Austin’s single advanced Gamm to third. Austin stole second, and Gamm scored the tying run after Bailey Caylor’s left field single.

In the bottom of the sixth, Wilkerson was called out on a controversial throw home. After an official review, it was ruled that Wilkerson was tagged before she slid into home plate.

It didn’t matter for the Salukis. Addi Baker reached first on an error by the Bradley first baseman, and Caylor and Austin both scored to make the score 3-1.

The Braves managed to get a run in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t finish, giving SIU their 30th victory of the season and their 18th in front of the crowd at Charlotte West Stadium.

The Dawgs will be on the road Tuesday to complete their home-and-home season series against the number two team in the MVC, the Missouri State Bears.

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Sports Reporter Ryan Grieser can be reached at [email protected]