Saluki softball sweeps fall ball double-header

By Brooke Buerck, Sports Reporter

The Southern Illinois Salukis took their home field for a double-header on Saturday, first taking on the Lake Land College Lakers followed by the Murray State Racers.

Last weekend, the Salukis took the field for the first time for their fall ball series last weekend, taking down Rend Lake College in their first game and then John A. Logan for their second. The games, featuring scrimmage-style play rather than standard, were played to six innings rather than seven.

Southern Illinois heads into their fall ball season finishing 34-15 (17-6 in conference) last year under head coach Kerri Blaylock, who is in her 21st season in the position. 

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The Salukis finished their spring 2019 season after making it to the NCAA Tournament, and recorded their first win in tournament play since 2007. Southern Illinois also competed in the tournament in 2017. 

GAME 1

For their first game of the day, the Salukis were able to use scoring runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to help them claim their first win of the day, 10-0 over the Lakers.

In the bottom of the third, junior outfielder Maris Boelens got a hit off for the Salukis, and Southern Illinois created a scoring opportunity. Headed into the top of the fourth, the Salukis were up 1-0 over the Lakers.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth, senior catcher Katelyn Massa hit a walk-off solo for the Salukis, putting the Dawgs up 2-0.

Hits by senior outfielder Susie Baranski and sophomore catcher and infielder Sidney Sikes along with Laker pitcher freshman Anna Perry walking senior midfielder Maddy Vermajen allowed the Salukis to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. 

A pop fly from Boelens allowed senior infielder Kyleigh Decker, running for Baranski, to score another run for the Salukis. 

Shortly afterward, with two on base and only one out, junior infielder and outfielder Jenny Jansen put up a three-run home run for the Salukis, allowing them the 6-0 lead.

In their next inning at bat, a dropped ball on behalf of the Lakers allowed freshman outfielder Aubree Depron to put up another run, and Vermajen was able to score again for the Salukis, giving them the 8-0 advantage.

The Salukis were able to load the bases again in the bottom of the sixth after freshman pitcher Brooke Valles gave up a walk to Massa. With bases loaded, sophomore infielder Ashley Wood connected for 2 RBI’s off the pitch from Valles.

Lake Land wasn’t able to find a run in the bottom of the sixth, allowing the Salukis to grab the win after six innings of play. 

Freshman pitcher Sarah Harness took the mound for the Salukis for the first six innings, giving up a total of two hits before freshman pitcher Carlee Jo Clark stepped in to finish out the game. 

For the Lakers, Perry pitched for the first five innings of the game, allowing eight hits for the Salukis. Valles took the mound in the sixth inning for Lake Land, allowing three hits for the Salukis before reliever freshman Macy Clark finished the game for the Lakers.

GAME 2

The Salukis faced the Racers for their second game of the day, taking them down 4-0.

The score remained tied heading into the bottom of the third, but the Salukis were able to create scoring opportunities during their turn at bat. 

After two walks from senior pitcher Taylor Makowski, the Salukis were able to load the bases with zero outs. 

Their first scoring opportunity came off of a hit from Massa, who hit a single RBI that was dropped by a Racer third baseman, allowing a runner to reach home. 

Brown, up next to bat, hit a ball deep into left field that allowed two runners home, putting the Salukis up 2-0.

Wood, who followed, hit two RBIs that gave the Salukis the 4-0 advantage before the end of the inning. 

Makowski, after giving up five hits, was relieved by sophomore pitcher Hannah James.

For the next three innings, neither pitcher would allow a hit.

Senior pitcher Claire Miller pitched for the entire game for the Salukis, giving up only three hits in six innings of play. 

The Salukis play again next Saturday, Sept. 28, at home for another fall ball series double-header. Southern Illinois will take on the Southeastern Illinois College Falcons at 12 P.M. and the Maryville University Saints at 2 P.M., both games taking place at Charlotte West Stadium. 

Sports reporter Brooke Buerck can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bbuerck25

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