Southern Illinois University closed out the USF Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Florida on a positive note, knocking off Maine 6-2. The Salukis won four of five games in the event.
The Salukis got a complete game from Brianna Jones and a big performance from its underclassmen on offense. The Salukis have now won five of their last six games. The win came in Blaylock's 999th game as the Saluki skipper.
"I thought we started out a little slow, but we regrouped," Blaylock said. "I thought we hit the ball well again. Bri was a little fatigued today, but I thought she hung in there and did a really good job. Maine can swing it. I'm glad we came away with the W."
Maine that struck first, reaching Jones for a first-inning run.
The Salukis took a lead in the second when senior Sydney Jones reached on an error that allowed sophomore Meredith Wernig and freshman Megan Brown to score.
Maine tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but it was the last run the Black Bears would score. Jones finished the game with five-straight shutout innings.
In the top of the third, freshman Jenny Jansen hit a solo-homerun to give Southern a 3-2 lead that it would not relinquish.
Jansen hit .600 on the weekend with a home run, three RBI, five runs scored and two walks.
In the top of the fifth, Maine had a solid opportunity to take the lead when it loaded the bases with two outs, however, Jones struck out the final batter of the inning.
In the next inning, the Salukis put the game out of reach. Sophomore Kyleigh Decker tripled to the opposite field to score Maris Boelens and Katelyn Massa to make the score 5-2. In the next at-bat Sydney Jones hit a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Decker to score to make the score 6-2.
Brianna Jones earned the win and improved to 11-1. It was her 11th complete game of the season. Jones tied a season-high in strikeouts with 10. Jones allowed eight hits total in the game, but just three in the final five innings.
On the weekend, Jones was 3-0 and allowed just three runs in 21.2 innings. She struck out 23 and walked four while holding opposing hitters to a .181 batting average. She currently leads the Valley in wins and is second in strikeouts.
With the USF Under Armour Showcase in the books, Southern turns its attention to a game against UT-Martin on Wednesday before beginning MVC play against Loyola at home on Saturday.
"I want to go down to UT-Martin and play well to get ready for conference," Blaylock said. "It's just a new little season that we start of and I just hope we continue to play well."