Salukis end regular season

By Gus Bode

The SIU softball team will conclude its regular season against a team with little to lose.

Coming off a doubleheader split with Illinois Wednesday, the Salukis look to improve their record against the Braves, who are currently tied for last place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings. Depending on the outcome of the series and others around the MVC, the team could finish as high as second or as low as sixth in the tournament seeding.

Sophomore right fielder Katie Wilson said the Salukis could not overlook Bradley, especially after an earlier 5-3 loss to the Braves this season in the Coach B Classic at Charlotte Stadium March 2.


“It’s hard not to over look them because were excited about the conference tournament here and if we don’t come out ready to play anyone can win on any day,” Wilson said.

This season has been drastically different for the Salukis compared to a year ago when they finished the season with an overall record of 41-16 and 17-7 in the MVC, leading to an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.

But the Salukis haven’t found as much success this season, as they currently are 27-23 overall and 12-8 in MVC play.

For coach Kerri Blaylock however, the number of losses doesn’t surprise her because of the youth on the team, especially in the pitching rotation. Injuries have also derailed the Salukis and Blaylock said it caused the team to be unprepared at times.

“We knew coming in that we were going to be young but we sure didn’t know the injuries were going to occur, but we feel like we’ve let about eight games slip away,” Blaylock said.

Senior centerfielder Krystal Stein said the team is not changing its approach to the end of the season and feels a special sense of urgency because of her senior status.

“As a senior, anytime it gets close to the end of the season, you don’t want to take anything for granted,” Stein said. “But I think that’s the way each one of the girls looks at it too.”


Wilson said she has a new approach to the postseason since her freshman campaign a season ago.

“My mentality now is win or go home because if we don’t come ready to play that gives us a different seed for the conference tournament,” Wilson said. “And if we don’t do well in the (MVC) Tournament, we don’t know if we’ll make it to the NCAA.”

But the key, Wilson said, is for everyone, not on one or two players, to help put runs on the board and victories in the books.

Stein said the Salukis would still take a game-by-game approach and look to make a run in the postseason.

“At this point in the season the could have, would have, should haves you can’t really think about anymore,” Stein said.

After completing their weekend series with Bradley, the Salukis will return home to host the MVC Tournament at Charlotte West Stadium beginning May 8.

Megan Kramper can be reached at536-3311 ext. 256 or [email protected].