CARBONDALE — The SIU softball team welcomes Northern Illinois, Illinois and Murray State to Charlotte West Stadium for the Coach B Classic beginning today.
The Salukis' home-opening tournament is using a new format this year. After pool play today and Saturday, the four teams will be seeded for the tournament semifinals at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively, on Saturday. The two semifinal winners will meet for a tournament championship on Sunday at 2 p.m., with a third-place game at noon.
The Salukis (7-5) return six starters and two of their three pitchers from the 2017 MVC championship team. Ace Brianna Jones is off to a great start at 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA.
Four Salukis, senior infielder Sydney Jones, Jones, sophomore second baseman Maddy Vermejan and sophomore outfielder Susie Baranski, were all preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Southern tied Illinois State for the most selections to the team in the league with four.
The Salukis were picked second in the Valley by the league's coaches. Illinois State was picked first and the Salukis were just one vote behind the Redbirds and one point ahead of Northern Iowa in third place. Southern and Northern Iowa tied with the most first-place votes with three apiece.
All of SIU's games will air on the website, at siusalukis.com. Friday and Saturday's Saluki games will air on ESPN3 with Connor Onion and Jeremy Sneed doing the commentary. SIU opens against Illinois today at 2 p.m. and will play Murray State at 4. Saturday, the Salukis take on Northern Illinois at noon to close out pool play.
Tickets to the Coach B Classic are $5 for adults and $3 for youth, per day. SIU students get in free with a valid ID.