Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball heads to Wichita for MVC Tournament

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU softball (21-25-1, 15-11) finished the season fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference and begins tournament play at 11 a.m. Thursday against eighth-ranked Indiana State (22-29, 13-13).

Eight of the ten teams make the tournament.  

The Salukis and Sycamores played twice on April 26 after the previous day’s game was canceled for weather. Indiana State took the first game 5-1 before SIU battled back in game two for an eighth-inning, 7-6 win. 

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In game one, senior pitcher Katie Bertelsen suffered the loss while Sycamore junior pitcher Taylor Lockwood earned the win with 1 run allowed on 4 hits, 7 strikeouts and 1 walk. 

In game two, SIU rallied from a 6-run deficit. Sophomore catcher Jessa Thomas contributed 4 RBIs including a bases-clearing double. 

The Sycamores finished third in the Valley with a .284 team batting average compared to the Salukis’ ninth best .255. They also finished with a better team ERA and fielding percentage. 

Indiana State senior utility player Megan Stone finished the season with a .400 batting average, second best in the league, against all teams. Saluki senior center fielder Kalyn Harker won the MVC batting title with a Valley batting average of .466 against conference teams. 

The winner of the game will face No. 3 seed Wichita State. The Salukis swept the Shockers in the second MVC series of the year beginning March 21. SIU won each game by 1 run. 

SIU has made the conference tournament in 32 of its 33 years and has won at least one game in 23 of those years. The Salukis won their last, and only, MVC title in 1991. 

This is Indiana State’s first MVC Tournament appearance since 2009. 

In its tournament history, SIU has played 94 games. Nearly half have been decided by 1 run and SIU is 19-24 in those games. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269. 

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