Saluki bats get hot in below freezing temps

Saluki bats get hot in below freezing temps

By Tony McDaniel

Saluki Softball started the season off with two wins in four games receiving offensive boosts from some of the younger players on the team.

Despite the unseasonably cold weather in San Marcos, Texas, the Salukis started the season hot with a strong performance Saturday, but cooled down Sunday.

Game one for the Salukis was scheduled Friday against Ball State, however the game was canceled due to unusual below freezing temperatures in Texas.


Day two of the event was not much warmer with the high temperature just 36 degrees, yet despite cold temperatures, the Saluki bats were on fire, scoring 18 runs in two games.

Coach Kerri Blaylock said she was proud of how well her team hit in the first two games.

“We were stuck practicing inside for quite a few days, and we were ready to go,” Blaylock said. “There were several kids that stepped up big, all up and down the lineup.”

In the fourth inning of SIU’s first game, Stephen F. Austin tied the game 5-5 off of a double down the left field line. In the bottom of the fourth, the Salukis scored two runs on one hit to close the scoring at 7-5, and give the Salukis win number one on the year.

The Salukis’ second game in Saturday’s double-header was against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and the Salukis’ bats had not cooled down yet.

In the top of the third inning with SIU trailing 4-3, freshman Brooke Womack hit an RBI single to centerfield. Sophomore Taylor Harris came up big for her team with a three-run home run to left-center field against a pitcher who she had never faced before, to make the score 7-4. The Islanders scored one run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 7-5.

In the top of the seventh inning with the score 9-6, the Salukis added two runs on two hits to jump to an 11-6 lead. The Salukis took game two by the score of 11-7.


One Saluki who hit particularly well Saturday was freshman Shaye Harre. She recorded an RBI in each of her first two games. Harre said the fact that she is a Division I athlete is still sinking in.

“I just tried to go up there and do what I’ve done my entire life,” Harre said. “I just swing the bat and try to make contact with the ball and make things happen.”

Blaylock she said she expects Harre to continue producing at the plate as the season continues.

“She’s patient at the plate, she gets her pitches and can work the count,” Blaylock said. “She did a good job.”

Just 10 hours and 30 minutes after game two ended, the Salukis were back in action against the defending regular season Mid-American Conference champion, the Ball State University Cardinals.

In the top of the fourth inning, sophomore Caylee Cook led off and gave SIU a 3-2 lead with a pinch-hit home run. Cook said she had to work the count to get her first career home run.

“She got me to 0-2. I tried to work my way back in the count and it ended up with a full count, and she left it over the outside half of the plate,” Cook said. “I handled it pretty well.”

Going into the sixth inning, the Salukis held a 3-2 lead. SIU scored one run in the top of the inning to pull out to a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals scored two runs to tie the game and threatened to take the lead with the bases loaded and no outs. The Salukis were able to work out of the jam behind the pitching of senior Taylor Orsburn.

The Salukis were unable to come away with the victory against Ball State after Orsburn threw a wild pitch, which allowed the runner on third to score in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Blaylock said she was proud of how her team played despite the short turnaround after their last game ended late the night before.

“We stepped off the field at 10:30 Saturday night and we were back on the field at nine o’clock in the morning, so we had five and half hours of sleep,” Blaylock said. “I really thought we did well in the Ball State game to come out playing like we did.”

The Salukis took on their host, Texas State, in the fourth and final game of the weekend, just several hours after the tough loss to Ball State.

The Salukis struggled to get anything going offensively or defensively against the Bobcats. Texas State won 9-0 in just five innings to put the Salukis’ record at 2-2 at the end of the first weekend of games.

“The game started off with two errors, so that kind of set the tone,” Blaylock said. “The way we hit the ball, we felt like we should be able to comeback, but we never could get ourselves settled in at the plate. I think the errors early led to more errors late, and it’s kind of a snowball effect in softball, it kind of got out of control.”

Blaylock said that while the short turnaround may have affected her team, she would not make excuses for her team’s play in the game against Texas State.

“I don’t know how you can’t [be tired], but I don’t make excuses and I’m not going to say that’s the reason we lost,” she said. “We’ve got to learn how to deal with adversity, and we’ve got a lot of youth…the effort is there and the mind is right, we’re just going to try to get better every weekend.”

Tony McDaniel can be reached at [email protected], @tonymcdanielDE or at 536-3311 ext. 282