Salukis take on Central Florida on Tuesday

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    Sophomore Kelsey Gonzalez
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    March 10, 2014

    vs. Central Florida
     Dates March 11, 2014 -- 4 p.m. CST
     Location Orlando, Fla. -- UCF Softball Complex
     Live Stats Gametracker
     Live Stream UCF All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Central FloridaMVC
     All-Time Series SIU leads UCF, 3-2 
     Last Meeting Feb. 23, 2013 (L, 5-2)
     Social Media @SIU_Softball  | @SIU_Softball  | Saluki Athletics 

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois2
    February 23, 2013
    Clearwater, Fla.
    Softball comes up short against UMass, Central Florida
    The Salukis dropped two games Saturday in the second day of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.

    By Tyler Wooten

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Saluki softball will round out their spring break stay in Florida with a trip to Orlando to face Central Florida on Tuesday at the UCF Softball Complex at 4 p.m. CST.

    Southern went 2-3 at the Under Armour Classic in Clearwater and Tampa, Fla., which was held from March 7-9. The Salukis lost two tight ones to Boston University (7-6) and Fordham (8-7), the latter of which was on a walk-off fielder's choice. SIU's offense came alive, though, batting .324 in five games that saw 12 doubles, three home runs, 25 RBIs and a team slugging percentage of .478 on the weekend.

    The Knights stand at 16-7 on the year, and their success has been solely on the strength of their pitching. UCF only hits .236 as a team and has nearly as many strikeouts (108) as hits (128), but its starting pitching has been beyond dominant. As a staff, UCF's pitchers are yielding opposing hitters to a .199 average and have struck out a ridiculous 204 hitters. Two starters -- Mackenzie Audas and Shelby Turnier -- own 93 percent of all UCF innings pitched and all but 12 of the team's 204 strikeouts. Combined, the two pitchers are 16-7 with 13 complete games and own an unreal strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.5. Turnier's mark alone is 4.87.

    SIU's offense has been off the charts in the last two weekends, which saw Southern go 4-4 in eight games of competition. In those last eight games, SIU is hitting .324, slugging .481, and getting on base at a clip of .420. In that same time frame, SIU has six of its eight home runs, 16 of its 32 doubles and 42 of its 82 RBIs in 2014. Senior Allie VadeBoncouer led all SIU hitters during this offensive explosion at a .450 batting average with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs -- which yielded a slugging percentage of .800. Freshman Shaye Harre knocked in 15 of her team-leading 20 RBIs -- 11 coming this past weekend at the Under Armour Classic. Although they only drove in a combined three runs, Kalyn Harker (.400), Kelsey Gonzalez (.381) and Michelle Glenn (.381) were each just as instrumental, scoring a combined seven runs.

    Freshman Shaye Harre has not wasted any time in getting acclimated to collegiate softball. The native of nearby Nashville, Ill., has started all 19 of SIU's games and 2-2 in 10 appearances and three starts as a pitcher -- including her last start, which was a complete-game shutout over Providence (8-0). At the plate, she is currently hitting .305 with a team-leading 20 RBIs, five doubles, a triple and two home runs -- up from .225 just a week earlier. The large jump can be credited to an unreal performance at the Under Armour Classic last week. Harre hit .467 with three doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs while slugging at a clip of .867.

    Senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer has been no stranger to the art of hitting during her time at SIU, but her start to the 2014 season has been a special one. The senior native of Kankakee, Ill., has hit safely in seven of her last 10 games and reached base safely in 13 of her 16 games played. She currently leads Southern with a .341 batting average, .537 slugging percentage and .518 on-base percentage.

    Senior Jayna Spivey has not slowed down in her senior year at SIU, cementing her role as Southern's most consistent hitter. She currently stands at fifth on the team with a .305 batting average and leads SIU in doubles with seven -- three of which came just this past weekend. She now has 28 career doubles, which is good for 10th all-time at SIU. She also ranks fourth all-time in home runs (30), and tied for fourth in RBIs (124).

    The Saluki sophomores have avoided the dreaded sophomore slump with hot bats at the plate thus far in 2014. Two sophomore, Kelsey Gonzalez (.333) and Taylor Harris (.316), hold two of the top-five batting averages on the team. Three of SIU's five home runs can be credited to Saluki sophomores, as can seven of its 32 doubles.

    Senior second baseman Jayna Spivey has been named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, the organization Thursday. Spivey is a 2013 Capital One Academic All-District selection and First-Team Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete who holds a 3.761 cumulative GPA in biological sciences. The Rosiclare, Ill. recorded 44 RBI's in 2013 to lead the Missouri Valley Conference, which ties as the sixth-best season in SIU history. She also led SIU with 12 multi-RBI games and ranked second in the MVC with 11 home runs, which is tied for seventh in school history.

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

    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.).

    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 524-265 overall. She is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .664 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches.

    Spivey is looking work her way up the SIU record book for home runs in her final seaon. The senior's 11 home runs last season ranked second in the MVC and seventh in school history for a single season. She is up to 29 home runs for her career, which ranks fourth in SIU history.

    SIU set a new program record for grand slams in a season in 2013 with six through the end of the regular season. SIU's previous record of five grand slams came in 2010. Preseason All-Conference selection Meredith Wilson recorded two of SIU's grand slams last season.

    Southern led the MVC in drawing free bases last season with a combined 259 free bases via walks and hit-by-pitches. The Salukis ranked second behind Illinois State for the MVC's lead in bases on balls with 201, and the Salukis' 58 free bases on hit by pitches was the league leader by 19.

    The official Twitter of Saluki softball is SIU_Softball. This account features team news as well as live in-game updates. Fans can also follow Saluki Athletics @SIUSalukis for news on all SIU sports.

    SALUKI NEWS ONLINE is the official website for SIU Athletics. It is the best source for up-to-date information on the Saluki softball team. Rosters, box scores, cumulative statistics, pre-game notes and other materials are available on the site. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read PDF files.

    Coverage for every Saluki softball game is available online though Saluki All-Access at A live audio stream will be available for every game and live video will be available for all home games. Saluki All-Access also has on-demand content for all 18 Saluki sports.