SIU's softball team continued it's hot streak by sweeping the Evansville Aces in three games last weekend at Charlotte West Stadium.
The three home victories gave the Dawgs 11 wins in a row in a season shaping up to look like the 2011 one.
Longtime head coach Kerri Blaylock's 2011 squad finished 36-17, and Blaylock figures the current squad might be similar -- or even better.
Last Saturday, SIU swept the Aces in two, using the top-notch pitching and timely hitting that has characterized the squad so far in its 23-9 start to the 2019 season.
The hitting wasn't prolific for the two Saturday wins, however, and Blaylock was duly cognizant of that fact. The Dawgs averaged only six hits in last weekend's three wins, but it was the team's 2-0 win in Saturday's finale that caught Blaylock's eye and ire.
"We were a bit disappointing in our at-bats in that game," Blaylock said. "We were rather undisciplined at the plate."
Blaylock did concede that part of the lack of hits by her team may have been the Aces' pitching. Nevertheless, it was her own team's pitching that was top notch. Her staff only gave up four runs to the Aces in three games. SIU averaged nearly four runs per game (11 total runs in three games) themselves, so as you see, that offensive output by Southern was adequate given the sterling pitching.
The Dawgs' pitching was accompanied by key hits to give SIU the series. In the first game in last Saturday's double-dip, Maddy Vermejan helped give the Salukis a 2-0 lead in the sixth with a homer. That turned out to be it with a 2-1 win.
In game two, one of the meager three hits for the victorious Salukis was another homer. This dinger was by SIU's slugging catcher Katelyn Massa, who crushed one over the centerfield fence.
The Dawgs did score a few in last Friday's initial series win. SIU had eight hits, scoring one in the second, four in the third and one more in the bottom of the fourth to ice the 6-3 win.
But common to all three of last weekend's wins was again solid pitching. Brianna Jones, Claire Miller and Holly Marousek allowed only one run on nine hits in the two Saturday wins over 14 innings (two full games). They'll need that stout pitching in the next 11 games.
The schedule is set up to where the Dawgs will not see Charlotte West Stadium again until May 1. The next 11 games are on the road, and it all started last Tuesday, April 9 with the Dawgs' visit to Missouri State University. This weekend, SIU travels to Terre Haute for three with Indiana State.
SIU currently is third in the MVC with an 8-3 record -- one and one-half games behind Drake. Southern is but half a game behind UNI (second place), so SIU's three-game set with the Panthers at Cedar Falls April 27 will be key to how the Salukis finish in the league.