Salukis take second place at Bama Bash
SIU softball team improves to 8-1 on season, best start since 1991
Alabama’s softball team entered this weekend’s Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala., rightfully expecting big things.
They were ranked No. 22 in the country.
They already had 12 games under their belts while two of the teams in the tournament, Western Kentucky and Winthrop, had yet to play a game.
But then they ran into the SIU softball team.
Even though Alabama defeated the Salukis 3-1in 11 innings in the championship game, SIU was more than up to the task and upset the Crimson Tide 4-0 earlier in the third game of the tournament. In their other games, the Salukis defeated Western Kentucky 7-0 and Winthrop twice 4-1 and 5-0.
In all, the Salukis faced off with the highly ranked Crimson Tide for a total of 18 innings, with senior Renee Mueller tossing 11.2 of those, and gave up just one earned run.
The other two runs that Alabama scored were counted as unearned because of international tiebreaker rules that goes into effect once the tenth inning starts. In these games, every team has a runner on second base to start the inning.
SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said the win against Alabama was huge for the Salukis and even thought they lost the championship game, she still can’t find anything to fault her team with.
“You hate to lose,” Blaylock said. “But we still haven’t played a bad game yet. I don’t think we played bad today, I just think that they played a little bit better.”
The SIU pitching staff had a solid weekend, throwing a total of 39 innings and surrendering just four runs while the Saluki offense provided 21 runs en route to a second place finish at the tournament.
The offense was led by junior shortstop Jenny Doehring (.429, home run, four RBI) and sophomore outfielder Katie Jordan (.429, two home runs, four RBI), both of whom were named to the Bama Bash All-Tournament Team. Sophomore pitcher Amy Harre, who threw 13.1 innings and gave up just seven hits and no runs while striking out 10, was also named to the all-tournament team.
The Salukis now sit at 8-1, which is SIU’s best start since going 12-0 back in 1991.
Amongst their victories are games against teams like Alabama, Mississippi and Purdue. Playing and beating these big teams is something Jordan said would help the Salukis down the stretch.
“This is a great confidence builder because it’s helping us see that we can compete with teams that are ranked and that are known,” Jordan said. “It gives us something to work for because we know that we can do well in our conference now because if we play like we know we can, we can beat anybody.”
The Salukis are now off for the next week before christening the new Charlotte West Stadium-Rochman Field on Feb. 28 when Syracuse comes to Carbondale.
After that, the Salukis will have one more tournament before beginning Missouri Valley Conference play and beginning towards their ultimate goal of a conference title.
If SIU keeps playing at its current level during the next couple of weeks and on through MVC play, Blaylock said it could be a special season for her squad.
“If we play as good in the conference season, we’re going to be okay,” Blaylock said. “We just need to keep our intensity.”
Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]