Saluki softball seeks to end road trip on high note

By Gus Bode

After dropping out of the national top-25 polls, the SIU softball team is looking to end its season-long six-game road trip on a positive note.

The Salukis (26-10) wrap up their road swing with a doubleheader against Saint Louis University (18-24) looking to re-claim the winning ways that helped the team claim a top-25 spot for the last nine weeks. SIU enters today’s twin bill 1-3 in its last four road bouts, but has the opportunity to even its mark with a sweep at the Billiken Sports Center.

SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said the team would succeed if it can take advantage of its opportunities at the plate and in the circle.

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‘I think we need to keep hitting the ball and being aggressive at the plate. And hopefully the pitching will take care of itself,’ Blaylock said.

Saint Louis last played on Friday, when it swept a doubleheader from Atlantic 10 Conference foe, Saint Joseph’s, before having its Saturday doubleheader against Temple rained out.

In its last four road games, SIU has dropped an April 8 battle against No. 10 Missouri, a single game against Tennessee-Martin on April 15 and two of three against Missouri Valley Conference leader Creighton.

The Salukis have won the last four matchups against the Billikens and have been dominant in the all-time series, posting a 36-2 record.

SIU won three straight road games from March 22 to March 24, when it took the final game of a three-game set of its series against Northern Iowa then swept a doubleheader against Evansville.

Senior third baseman Katie Wagner, who is batting only .205 against Missouri Valley Conference opponents, said picking up a pair of wins could be key to re-igniting the team’s success.

‘It definitely would mean a lot. I think it could jump start us on the winning side and trying to make something there on out,’ Wagner said.

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The doubleheader against the Billikens starts what will likely be a hectic stretch for SIU.

After two games in St. Louis, the Salukis return to close out its home schedule with a game Thursday against Evansville before senior weekend starts Saturday with a three-game series against Bradley.

Starting today, SIU will play 13 games in the season’s final 12 days.

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