Daily Egyptian

Saluki softball drops first two in Coach B Classic

Sophomore+infielder+Maddy+Vermejan+dives+for+the+ball+Friday%2C+March+2%2C+2018%2C+during+the+Illini%27s+14-1+win+against+the+Salukis+at+Charlotte+West+Stadium.+%28Dylan+Nelson+%7C+%40Dylan_Nelson99%29
Sophomore infielder Maddy Vermejan dives for the ball Friday, March 2, 2018, during the Illini's 14-1 win against the Salukis at Charlotte West Stadium. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

Sophomore infielder Maddy Vermejan dives for the ball Friday, March 2, 2018, during the Illini's 14-1 win against the Salukis at Charlotte West Stadium. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

Dylan Nelson

Dylan Nelson

Sophomore infielder Maddy Vermejan dives for the ball Friday, March 2, 2018, during the Illini's 14-1 win against the Salukis at Charlotte West Stadium. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

SIU softball dropped both games of the Coach B Classic Friday afternoon in a doubleheader against the University of Illinois and Murray State at Charlotte West Stadium.

“This was the poorest day of softball since we started,” head coach Kerri Blaylock said. “I’m disappointed in the way we came to play today. We weren’t very good in any facet of the game.”

In their most lopsided defeat this season, the Salukis dropped their first game against the Fighting Illini (5-6), 14-1, via mercy rule in the sixth inning.

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Junior Briana Jones toed the rubber for Southern in the first matchup of the day. She pitched 5.2 innings and struck out five.

The Salukis went down early in the second inning after U of I freshman first baseman Maddison Demers hit a three-run home run for an early 3-0 lead.

The Fighting Illini came right back in the fourth inning with another four runs after loading the bases early with no outs.

SIU’s offense struggled all game to create any activity, as only four hits were produced against the Illini.

Junior Emily Oestreich started the game for U of I. She pitched the first three innings with no hits allowed and three strikeouts.

The sixth inning is where the bats truly came alive for U of I, as they dropped seven runs and built a 14-0 lead.

Junior Taylor Edwards closed the last three innings in the mercy-rule victory, allowing only one run off a leadoff home run by sophomore second baseman Maddy Vermejan in the bottom of the sixth.

The Fighting Illini hit 18 times in 37 at-bats, nearly a .500 clip for the game.

In the second game against the Murray State Racers (6-9), who won the Coach B Classic last season, the Salukis fell behind after the Racers put a run on the board in the first and second innings.

Dylan Nelson
Sophomore outfielder Susie Baranski crouches for the ball Friday, March 2, 2018, during the Illini's 14-1 win against the Salukis at Charlotte West Stadium Illinois. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

Senior Savanna Dover held the circle in the game and pitched all seven innings with four strikeouts.

SIU responded in the third inning when senior third baseman Sydney Jones brought two runs across after a throwing error that tied the game at 2-2.

Murray State came back in the fifth inning and put three more runs across after a perfectly placed bunt blew the inning open with no outs.

Southern answered in the bottom of the fifth, as Vermejan scored on an RBI groundout by Jones that cut Murray’s lead to 5-3.

Vermejan batted 3-7 on the day with three runs scored. She now has two home runs this season, two more than her previous season’s totals.

“There were some at-bats I wish I could’ve done better, I just have to stay positive while in the box,” Vermejan said. “We’re definitely going to have a lot more energy tomorrow after we bounce back and get a good night’s rest.”

After no activity in the sixth, the Salukis faced a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning with the top of the order due up.

Sophomore right fielder Susie Baranski led off the inning with a double. However, the Salukis were unable to score her and stranded runners on first and second for a 5-3 final.

The Salukis (7-7) will face Northern Illinois in the Coach B Classic on Saturday with following matchup determined by seeding. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

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