Daily Egyptian

Blaylock earns softball wins record with doubleheader sweep

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock became the SIU softball program’s leader in wins with a doubleheader sweep on Friday.

With victories against Wright State and Connecticut, Blaylock earned her 634th career win, the most of any coach in Saluki softball history.

The Salukis split their first three doubleheaders this season, making Friday’s victories at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational the first sweep of the season.

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In the first game against Wright State (0-7), senior Savanna Dover toed the rubber for the Salukis. She tossed 6.1 innings with nine strikeouts on only seven hits.

SIU got the game started in the first inning after wild pitching put the first three batters aboard and loaded the bases.

Then, freshman center fielder Jenny Jansen hit a sacrifice fly that scored sophomore second baseman Maddy Vermejan.

However, Wright State came back in the second inning and scored three runs off a two-run triple and a wild pitch.

Jansen got the offense rolling for the Salukis once again in the bottom of the fourth inning with a lead-off single.

Then, after another single from senior third baseman Haley Andrus, freshman left fielder Maris Boelens scored Jansen on an RBI groundout.

Andrus came back around in the fifth inning with an RBI single of her own that scored senior catcher Sydney Jones.

Senior shortstop Savannah Fisher then drove in Jansen, Andrus, and junior first baseman Kyleigh Decker on a single that gave SIU the 6-3 edge.

In the top of the seventh inning, junior Briana Jones was sent in to relieve Dover after she gave up a one-out single.

Jones forced two consecutive flyouts and earned her first save of the season, preserving the 6-3 win. Dover (1-3) picked up the victory, her first of the campaign.

In the second game against the Connecticut Huskies (5-6), Briana Jones came back to start the game for the Salukis.

UConn jumped on Southern early in the second inning and scored two runs after an error was committed by Decker.

However, Decker came back and scored Jones on an RBI single in the fourth inning.

The Saluki bats continued to stay alive in the fifth inning, where senior outfielder Brittany Turner got things started with a pinch-hit walk. Then, Boelens reached on an error that put runners on the corners with no outs.

Two batters later, Vermejan scored Turner with an RBI single. Right after, sophomore catcher Katelyn Massa scored Boelens on a single.

The Huskies immediately responded in the bottom half of the fifth with an RBI single that tied the game at 3-3.

Jones continued to fight for the next four innings and held UConn scoreless in each frame until the Saluki bats came alive in extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Jones scored sophomore right fielder Susie Baranski on an RBI single for the go-ahead run.

Jansen followed with an insurance RBI double that put the Salukis up 5-3.

UConn plated one run in the bottom of the 10th with an RBI groundout but was unable to rally past Jones’ pitching.

Jones went the full 10 innings with eight strikeouts and allowed nine hits. Her record for the season now stands at 5-0.

The Salukis (6-4) will play another doubleheader on Saturday against Stony Brook at 1:30 p.m. and tournament-host Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m.

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