No. 24 SIU hopes to shock Wichita St.

By Gus Bode

Salukis riding 13-game streak

The SIU softball team has seemingly been on an exodus to win ballgames in faraway lands.

In the Salukis’ current 13-game winning streak, only three of those victories have come in the familiar confines of Charlotte West Stadium-Rochman Field. Aside from practice, SIU last touched its home field nearly two weeks ago in a makeup game against No. 15 Missouri.


“We’re tired of traveling,” said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock with a slight sigh.

This weekend, the No. 24 Salukis (30-8, 8-1 Missouri Valley) will return to their stomping grounds while hosting MVC foe Wichita State in a three-game series. If there was ever a time to be thankful for coming home, it would probably be right now.

The Shockers (26-11, 9-1 MVC) are second in the Valley with only a slim one-game lead over SIU. Looking over the conference statistics, the Salukis and WSU are almost interchangeable in a majority of the batting categories.

The Shockers have a team average of .277 compared to SIU’s .275 total. The Salukis have the edge in slugging with a percentage of .452 while WSU trails with a .427 figure. SIU also leads the Shockers in runs batted in (158 to 143) and home runs (39 to 30), but WSU trumps SIU with 41 doubles and 124 walks. The list goes on.

If sheer numbers are any basis, this will be a difficult series for the Salukis in terms of an offensive battle.

“I don’t really know because I haven’t seen them this year,” Blaylock said. “I think they’ll have good pitching and defense, and I think it’ll just be a good series.”

Blaylock has nothing to worry about when it comes to Saluki pitching, which continues to be a staple of the team’s success.


SIU has given up an average of only one run a game in their past 13 outings and continues to lead the MVC with a minute .98 team ERA, thanks in large part to the one-two combo of Amy Harre and Cassidy Scoggins.

Between Harre, a senior with a blazing fastball, and Scoggins, a sophomore who can dizzy batters with ball movement, the Salukis have taken 27 of their 30 victories on the strengths of their arms. The two also continue to lead the MVC with individual ERAs of .65 for Scoggins (first) and 1.16 (second) for Harre.

The Shockers are not quite as close to SIU in respects of pitching, but they can obviously hold their own.

Either way, Blaylock will remain calm if any or all of the games go down to the wire.

“We should be able to win one-run ballgames,” Blaylock said after SIU’s 1-0 defeat of Southeast Missouri State Wednesday evening. “We buckled down, and we were able to hold on. At this point in the season, we should be able to do that.”

Reporter Gabe House can be reached at [email protected]