Salukis head to NFCA Leadoff Classic

    Southern Illinois travels to Clearwater, Fla. to play five games over the three day tournament.

    Southern Illinois travels to Clearwater, Fla. to play five games over the three day tournament.
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    Feb. 20, 2013

    Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    CARBONDALE,Ill.-- The Southern Illinois University softball team is set to travel to Clearwater, Fla. this weekend for the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Salukis will play five games during the three day tournament. This weekend will round out SIU's 15-game road trip . Southern Illinois enters the weekend with a 4-6 record.

    WHAT: NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic  Tournament Central

    WHERE: Eddie C. Moore Complex, Clearwater, Fla.

    WHEN: Feb. 22-24

    Radio: None  Video: None  Live Stats: GameTracker vis

    Twitter: @SIU_Softball



    Fri., Feb 22        vs. UC Davis            12:00 p.m. CT

                          vs. South Florida       2:30 p.m. CT

    Sat., Feb. 23     vs. UMass                2:30 p.m. CT

                          vs. Central Florida     5:00 p.m. CT

    Sun., Feb. 24     vs. Hofstra              9:00 a.m. CT

    WHAT’S ON DECK Southern Illinois will make its final trip to the Sunshine State this weekend to compete in the 2013 NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. The Salukis will play five games in three days. Southern will play UC Davis and South Florida on Friday, UMass and Central Florida on Saturday and will wrap-up the weekend taking on Hofstra Sunday morning.

    RECAPPING LAST WEEK The Salukis had a tough outing last weekend at the Florida Gulf Coast University finishing the weekend 1-4 after facing three 2012 NCAA tournament teams including No. 1/2 NCAA Champions Alabama. SIU’s lone win came against Georgia Southern, they topped the Eagles 10-1.

    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 492-232

    DAWGS VS. RANKED TEAMS One week after dropping its contest to No. 1/2 Alabama, Southern Illinois will have another chance to knock off a top ranked team as they take on No. 14 South Florida Friday afternoon. The Salukis upset two Top 25 teams last season defeating No. 25 Florida State and No. 19 Hawai’i.

    SCOUTING CENTRAL FLORIDA The 2012 NCAA Tournament team enters the weekend with an overall record of 5-5. The Knights kicked-off their season with five consecutive losses at the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off but rebounded last weekend finishing the UCF Holiday Inn Select 5-for-5. UCF was tabbed to finish third in the Conference USA preseason poll and boasts three preseason All-Conference selections. SIU leads its all-time series with Central Florida 3-0.

    SCOUTING HOFSTRA Previously ranked at No. 25 Hofstra dropped out of the ESPN Top 25 poll this week after dropping three contests to No. 23 Florida State and No. 24 Tulsa in its opening weekend at the FSU Invitational. The Pride was chosen to win the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association title in the preseason coaches poll, returning seven starters from a 2012 team that went 42-15 and advanced to the program’s first ever Super Regional. The Salukis trail their all-time series with Hofstra 1-2.

    SCOUTING SOUTH FLORIDA South Florida enters the NFCA Leadoff Classic as the No. 14 ranked team in the country. The Bulls are currently 6-3 this season with their three losses occuring against No. 4 Tennessee, FAU and N.C. State. USF was picked to finish first in the 2013 coaches preseason poll after finishing 50-12 and 17-5 in the Big East last season that included the program’s first-ever trip to the Women’s College World Series. SIU trails South Florida 3-7 in their all-time meetings.

    SCOUTING UC DAVIS The Aggies are 5-5 overall heading into the tournament this weekend. UC Davis opened its season at Fresno State finishing 3-2 followed by going 2-2 at the Stanford Nike Invitational. The team hosted California in their season opener falling to the No. 9 Bears. UC Davis finished the 2012 season 24-28 overall with a third place finish in the Big West Conference. The Salukis hold a 1-0 record over the Aggies.

    SCOUTING UMASS The University of Massachusetts opened its season last weekend with a three game slate at the Florida Atlantic University Invitational. UMass went 0-3 facing No. 15 Michigan, Maryland and FAU. The Minutemen went 38-13 overall a year ago, including a 19-0 mark in conference play for its 23rd regular-season title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. UMass leads the all-time series with Southern Illinois 5-1.

    NEXT TIME OUT After three weekends in Florida, Southern Illinois softball will make its 2013 debut in Carbondale next weekend as they host the Coach B Classic. The Salukis will welcome Western Illinois, Butler and Northern Illinois during the two-day invitational.