Salukis salvage win and tie, despite three losses in Mexico

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU softball fell to 3-8-1 on the season after a poor performance in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.

Thursday, the Salukis started the tournament with a 10-10, eight-inning tie against Northern Colorado (4-5-1). The game marked the first time SIU finished in a tie since 1998 and was the fourth in program history.

The team had not played since Feb. 14 and had practiced indoors for 10 days before playing in Mexico. Coach Kerri Blaylock said it showed defensively.


“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes… the ballgame would have been a little different,” she said. “We don’t quit. We will fight until the last out.”

Although the game finished in a tie, the Salukis never held a lead in the game. The first tie of the game came in the bottom of the seventh after SIU trailed 9-4 before putting up 5 runs to force extra innings.

The late-inning rally was sparked by the bottom half of the lineup. Junior designated player Caylee Cook, freshman catcher Sydney Jones and sophomore left fielder Merri Anne Patterson contributed with 3 RBIs.

In the top of the eighth, Northern Colorado senior second baseman Melissa Marcovecchio singled home senior left fielder Molly Ryan to give the Bears a 10-9 lead.

Senior right fielder Meredith Wilson led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run, her first of the year.

Blaylock said the entire lineup did what was needed offensively. She said the coaching staff and players are just waiting to find a rhythm on both offense and defense. She said low-scoring games are a thing of the past.

“The way college softball is, I don’t even know if there’s such a thing as a 1-0 or 2-1 game anymore,” she said. “If you want some excitement and like watching kids swing the bat, it’s pretty fun.”


The Salukis split the Friday games with an 8-0 loss to Brigham Young (13-6) and a 6-5 win against Nevada (4-15).

Freshman pitcher Savanna Dover got the call against BYU and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in the first inning. She held the Cougars scoreless the next four innings. BYU would tack on 3 runs in both the sixth and seventh innings en route to the victory.

Blaylock was happy with the pitching performance from Dover.

“Savanna Dover did a fantastic job to keep us with a very, very good BYU team,” she said. “If she can do that against the majority of teams, we’re going to be in good shape.”

Sophomore pitcher McKenna Bull shut down the Salukis, only allowing 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6 in the complete game victory.

In the second game, SIU went to extra innings for the fourth time in ten games. They defeated Nevada 6-5 in the eighth. SIU led for five straight innings after only batting with the lead three times in the previous 63 innings.

Senior pitcher Katie Bertelsen got the start and her first win of the season. She pitched a complete game allowing 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks along with 3 strikeouts.

In the top of the eighth, freshman second baseman Savannah Fisher scored on a throwing error by Wolf Pack senior catcher Ashley Butera. Bertelsen forced two weak pop up outs in the bottom of the inning with a runner on third to ensure the victory.

“I’m really proud of the kids for gutting out a win against Nevada tonight,” Blaylock said. “Katie Bertelsen threw a really gutsy performance and did a really good job, and we got big hits in big moments.”

Saturday, the Salukis dropped another two games to BYU and Nevada.

BYU sent Bull back to the mound against SIU after her two-hit victory on Saturday and sophomore pitcher Shaye Harre got the start for the Salukis.

The game remained scoreless until the Salukis scored 1 run on 3 Cougar errors in the top of the third inning. 

In the bottom half of the inning BYU recorded a grand slam and a solo homerun to jump out to a 5-1 lead. The Cougars added 3 runs in the fourth en route to their 8-1 victory.

In SIU’s last game of the tournament, the Salukis and Wolf Pack exchanged big offense in a 23-9 Nevada victory.

The Saluki pitching allowed 19 earned runs in just five innings. Dover got the start and allowed 12 runs on 5 hits and 7 walks in 1.1 innings. Bertelsen came in for relief and allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk in 2 innings. Harre was the next to step into the circle and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk.

The Wolf Pack had 20 hits in the game and six players recorded multiple RBIs, led by junior first baseman Amanda Weis with 6.

Harre, Wilson and Patterson were the only Salukis with multiple RBIs, each with 2.

The Salukis play in the Coach B Classic beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium.

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