No. 24 Saluki softball strives to remain undefeated

By Gus Bode

Even though the SIU softball team is off to an 8-0 start, the Salukis are still not satisfied.

The Salukis enter the Elon University Tournament in Elon, N.C., on Saturday behind the momentum of two-no hitters and a dominant four-game sweep of the Samford Bulldog Bash double round-robin tournament.

Senior pitcher Katie McNamara said the team needed to come into its next tournament with the same level of confidence it had after sweeping its previous two season opening tournaments.


‘We’ve been doing pretty well so far, but we have to keep coming out with the same level of confidence that we’ve had for all eight games,’ McNamara said. ‘We can’t take any team for granted.’

The senior southpaw earned the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week award on Monday. McNamara fired her first career no-hitter in an 8-0 win against Austin Peay on Saturday, and then followed with a three-hit shutout against Gardner-Webb on Sunday.

McNamara has allowed only four hits in 17 innings pitched to go along with 17 strikeouts this season. She was the second Saluki starter to be awarded the Valley’s top pitcher award. Sophomore Danielle Glosson earned the honors after the team’s first weekend of action.

Head coach Kerri Blaylock said the team’s strong start in the circle has helped the entire team excel early in the season.

‘Good pitching and defense allows your hitters to relax and it allows them to take quality at bats,’ Blaylock said. ‘We actually have some freshmen that are playing older and some juniors and seniors that really understand what it’s going to take.’ And I think we’re all a little more relaxed.’

SIU will have several hot bats entering its second straight double round-robin tournament.

Chelsea Held owns the team’s highest batting average, hitting .524, and has collected the most total bases, 21. Second baseman Alicia Garza has collected 15 hits in 29 at-bats (.517 average) and has started and played in all eight games.


Freshman shortstop Haley Gorman has played and started in all six games as well and has a .429 average with nine hits in 21 at-bats.

Blaylock said having contributions from the team’s experienced players, as well as its young players, has helped the team achieve its perfect start.

‘ ‘They just come out and have fun and sometimes, with younger kids, it’s good because they play dumb,’ Blaylock said. ‘So I think that it’s important for everybody to play like they’re experienced.

‘A lot of these kids have played great summer league schedules, so it’s no different. They just translate that now they’re out of summer ball and they’re in college ball.’