Salukis set to open 2013 season

    Southern Illinois will travel to Clermont, Fla. to kick-off the 2013 season at the Dot Richardson National Collegiate Invitational.

    Southern Illinois will travel to Clermont, Fla. to kick-off the 2013 season at the Dot Richardson National Collegiate Invitational.
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    Feb. 7, 2013

    By Robin Thuringer

    Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois University softball team travels to Clermont, Fla. to open the 2013 season at the Dot Richardson National Collegiate Softball Invitational. The Salukis will meet with Chattanooga, Fordham, LIU Brooklyn and Virginia Tech over the weekend.

    What: Dot Richardson National Collegiate Invitational

    Where: National Training Complex, Clermont, Fla.

    When: Feb. 8-10

    Radio: None    Video: None     Stats: Gametracker from    

    Twitter: @SIU_Softball


    Fri., Feb 8.        vs. Chattanooga 1:00 p.m. CT

                         vs. Virginia Tech 6:00 p.m. CT

    Sat., Feb. 9       vs. Fordham 12:30 p.m. CT

    Sun., Feb. 10     vs. LIU Brooklyn 8:00 a.m. CT

                          vs. Virginia Tech 10:00 a.m. CT

    2012 RECAP The Salukis finished the 2012 season with a record of 16-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference. SIU returns 12 letterwinners, including seven position starters and three pitchers, from a team that went 36-20 and made it to the MVC Tournament championship game last season.

    PRESEASON PICK Southern Illinois has been picked as a co-favorite in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The Salukis garnered 85 points and two first-place votes to tie with 2012 MVC Tournament champion Illinois State for the top billing in what was a close vote amongst the top four spots.

    ALL-CONFERENCE ACCOLADES SIU had four players named to the Preseason All-Conference team in Taylor Orsburn (junior/1B), Jayna Spivey (junior/2B), Allie VadeBoncouer (junior/C) and Morgan Barchan (senior/OF). Orsburn and VadeBoncouer both earned First-Team All-MVC honors last season while Spivey was named Second-Team All-MVC.

    SALUKI STARTERS With the graduation of Haley Gorman and Mallory Duran-Sellers, Southern will look to replace two starting positions this season. Gorman was a four-year starter at shortstop while Duran-Sellers was an anchor in the outfield, primarily playing in left field.

    BLAYLOCK NEARS 500 WINS Kerri Blaylock returns to the helm of Saluki Softball in 2013 nearing her 500th career win. Blaylock enters her 14th season as the team's head coach and her 23rd overall year with the program boasting a career record of 488-226.

    FRESH FACES Southern Illinois welcomes four freshmen to the 2013 roster. Caylee Cook (UT/Afton, Okla.), Kelsey Gonzalez (INF/Bolingbrook, Ill.), Taylor Harris (INF/OF/Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Lacey Newbold (INF, Crab Orchard, Ill.) will all don the Saluki maroon this season.

    VADEBONCOUER AT THE DISH Junior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer returns to the Saluki lineup after a breakout season in 2012. The pre-season All-Conference selection was a force at the plate drawing 28 free bases on hit-by-pitches to lead the nation. VadeBoncouer also tied the SIU record with an MVC-leading 51 RBI, which is tied for eighth in Valley history.

    WALK IT OUT Southern Illinois showed patience at the plate last season breaking the Missouri Valley Conference record for walks in a single-season. The Salukis combined for a total of 228 bases on balls.

    ASHTON AT BAT Third baseman Kelsea Ashton returns for SIU after starting all 56 games last season. The Carterville, Ill. native led the nation with 23 sacrfice hits. Ashton ranked second on the team with 37 walks and third on the team with 35 runs scored.

    SENIOR SEASON Morgan Barchan, Brittney Lang and Michelle Bradley make up with 2013 senior class. Barchan and Bradley will return to the outfield while Lang returns to the circle for the Salukis. Last season, Lang led the team with 75 strikeouts including throwing three shutouts.

    BACK IN THE CIRCLE Southern Illinois returns all its pitchers from the 2012 roster. Katie Bertelsen, Brittney Lang and Alyssa Wunderlich all return to the circle to lead the Salukis this season.

    SCOUTING CHATTANOOGA UT-Chattanooga enters the invitational after completing the 2012 season with a record of 39-16, falling short to advance to the SoCon Tournament. The Lady Mocs were picked second in the league pre-conference poll. Chattanooga boats six pre-season All-Conference selections including seniors Sara Poteat and Kasey Tydingco. The Lady Mocs enter with hot bats after leading the nation in team batting average last year with a .347 mark. This is the first meeting between the two teams.

    SCOUTING FORDHAM Southern Illinois leads the all-time series 3-0. The Rams are coming off a 32-26 record last season and will be looking to replace starting pitcher Jen Mineau. Mineau started 40 of 50 games last season and ranked as the best pitcher in Fordham's program history. Returning pitchers for Fordham include Michelle Daubman who posted a 4.09 ERA and Taylor Pirone who held a 4.10 ERA. The Rams also graduated the teams' top two hitters. Paige Ortiz will now lead the Fordham offense. Last season she compiled 13 home runs.

    SCOUTING LIU BROOKLYN This weekend will mark the first meeting between LIU Brooklyn and the Salukis. The Blackbirds finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 25-35, winning 13 of their final 16 games en route to the NEC tournament title and a bid to the NCAA tournament. LIUB's two offensive leaders return this season, each posting a batting average above .300. Two starting pitchers for the Blackbirds do not return to the 2013 roster making Cassis Vondrak the top-returning pitcher. Vondrak finished with a 12-7 record.

    SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH Virginia Tech returns 14 letterwinners from the 2012 team that finished 42-21 overall. The Hokies reached the championship game of the ACC tournament, falling to Georgia Tech. VT earned a bid to the NCAA tournament advancing to the Regional finals. All nine starters return as well as two starting pitchers including Jasmin Harrell who led the Hokie pitchers with 31 wins and an era of 1.97. Offensively, the 2012 club boasts heavy hitters with multiple players posting double-digit home runs. Virginia Tech and Southern Illinois will meet for the first time at the Dot Richardson Invitational and are scheduled to play twice over the weekend.

    NEXT TIME OUT The Salukis will hit the road again next weekend traveling to Ft. Myers, Fla. Southern Illinois will be competing in the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament facing host FGCU, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and the 2012 NCAA Champions, Alabama