Kerri Blaylock enters her 14th season at the helm of Saluki Softball.
Nov. 5, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.—The Southern Illinois softball team announced its 2014 schedule Tuesday. The schedule features 21 home games and 33 games on the road including five non-conference tournaments.
“We wanted to do some different things this year so we tried to focus on other mid-majors who have RPI’s near the top-50,” said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock, who enters her 14th season at the helm. “We decided to focus on tournaments with teams that are comparable to us.”
The Salukis begin the 2014 season with three consecutive weekend tournaments on the road. Southern opens the season at the Century Link Classic February 7-9 in San Marcos, Texas, where SIU will face Ball State, Texas State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Stephen F. Austin.
Southern next travels to Jacksonville, Fla. Feb. 14-16 for the North Florida Invitational. The Salukis will face Quinnipiac, Troy, Savannah State and North Florida.
The Salukis will return to Jacksonville the following weekend, Feb. 21-23, for the Jacksonville Invitational that features Savannah State, Bethune Cookman, Illinois-Chicago and the host Dolphins.
Southern Illinois will make its 2014 home debut March1-2 when it hosts the 28th Coach B. Classic at Charlotte West Stadium. SIU welcomes Kansas, Western Illinois, Murray State and Miami-Ohio for the two-day tournament.
“We have 18 kids and we used all of them in the fall so it is important for us to find out who is going to step up and be the meat of our order,” said Blaylock. “We want to try different line ups and we will be able to do that in our pre-season.”
Southern makes its final trip to the sunshine state March 7-9 at the Under Armour Classic in Clearwater, Fla., where SIU will play Boston University, Boston College, St. Joseph’s, Providence and Fordham. Following the Under Armour Classic the Salukis will travel to Orlando, Fla. for a single game with Central Florida on Tuesday, March 11.
SIU will host a slate of 14 conference games at Charlotte West Stadium this season.
“I think Northern Iowa, Illinois State and Drake are teams to watch due to pitching and depth,” said Blaylock. “I would like to say because of our experience and upperclassman that our team can contend, we are going to have to fight it out.”
Stepping outside conference play, SIU will play at Saint Louis (March 26) and SIU Edwardsville (April 2) before hosting SEMO (April 8), Eastern Illinois (April 9) and Tennessee-Martin (April 24).
“We had a great fall and I am really happy with where we are at and looking forward to the season.”
Southern will close the regular season at home against Indiana State May 8-10. The 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will be held May 8-10 in Normal, Ill.