Softball opens 2014 season at Century Link Classic

    Kerri Blaylock enters her 15th season at the helm of Saluki Softball.

    Kerri Blaylock enters her 15th season at the helm of Saluki Softball.
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    Feb. 6, 2014

    CARBONDALE, Ill.—The Southern Illinois softball program will begin its 46th season of competition this weekend as the Salukis open the 2014 season at the Century Link Classic hosted by Texas State University.

    The three-day invitational features host Texas State, Ball State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Competition will begin Friday morning when the Salukis take on the Cardinals of Ball State University.

    Southern Illinois at Century Link Classic
     Date Feb. 7- Feb. 9
     Time >Schedule
     Location Bobcat Softball Stadium, San Marcos, Texas
     Radio None
     TV None
     Audio Stream
     Video Stream vs. Texas State
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats, All Games Live Stats
     Social Media @SIU_Softball

    A LOOK AT THE DAWGS SIU returns 14 letterwinners, including seven position starters and two pitchers from the 2013 squad that went 25-27.

    FRESH FACES Southern Illinois welcomed four freshmen to the 2014 roster in Shaye Harre (P/Nashville, Ill.), Merri Anne Patterson (OF/Lynville, Tenn.), Jessa Thomas (C/Johnston City, Ill.) and Brook Womack (INF, Chattanooga, Tenn.)

    SCOUTING BALL STATE Ball State returns 14 letterwinners, including six starting position players and two starting pitchers, from last season’s squad which posted a 37-17 (18-3 MAC) record and won the program’s fourth MAC regular season title in the past five years. Highlighting the list of returning players are two-time reigning MAC Player of the Year Jennifer Gilbert (Sr./OF), reigning MAC Freshman of the Year Nicole Steinbach (So./P), First Team All-MAC selection Taylor Rager (Sr./1B) and MAC All-Freshman Team honoree Selena Reyna (So./SS). The Cardinals also welcome six newcomers to the roster

    SCOUTING TEXAS STATE The Bobcats were tabbed to finish fourth in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. Texas State returns 10 letterwinners from last season’s squad which posted an 18-38 overall record, including a 10-11 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.

    SCOUTING STEPHEN F. AUSTIN The Ladyjacks were selected to finish ninth, among 10 teams, in both the Southland Conference’s Preseason Coaches and Sports Information Directors polls. SFA returns seven starting position players and one starting pitcher from last season’s squad which posted a 16-32 (9-17 SLC) record. Senior shortstop Elizabeth Arana was named to the 2014 All-Southland Conference Preseason Softball Team.

    SCOUTING TEXAS A&M C-C The Islanders were chosen to finish 10th in both the Southland Conference’s Preseason Coaches and Sports Information Directors polls. The Islanders return 12 letterwinners from last season’s squad which posted an 11-39 (6-21 SLC) record. Junior utility player Lindsey Lyles was named to the preseason All-Southland Conference Second Team.

    PRESEASON POLL Southern Illinois was been picked picked fourth in the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The Salukis received the coaches’ fourth-place pick with 63 votes while Northern Iowa was picked as this year’s preseason favorite.

    PRESEASON RECOGNITION Southern was represented on the MVC Preseason All-Conference Team by senior Jayna Spivey and junior Meredith Wilson. Spivey brings an offensive spark to the Salukis as she finished tied for first in RBIs, second in home runs and fourth in two-out RBIs in the Conference. Wilson is a two-time All-MVC Second Team member.

    BLAYLOCK RACKS UP MILESTONES SIU’s game on April 10, 2013 at UT Martin marked SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock’s 750th game as a head coach, all of which were at SIU. Blaylock also picked up her 500th career coaching win on March 21, 2013 with SIU’s doubleheader sweep of Saint Louis. In her 15th season, the Saluki skipper sits at 513-253 overall. She is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .670 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC’s 500-win coaches