CARBONDALE — The Saluki softball squad officially added a Division I transfer and a volunteer coach on Wednesday, the first day of practice for the 2018 season.

Jordan Spicer, a junior first baseman from Belmont University, and volunteer coach Kenzi Tate joined the team just a month before the season begins.

Spicer started in 35 games and appeared in 10 more for the Bruins in 2017. She was second on the team in batting average and home runs, hitting .319 with six homers. Spicer was the only Bruin to start all 54 games as a freshman in 2016. She hit .278 with a home run, eight doubles, 25 RBIs and drew 20 walks.

"Jordan can hit for average as well as power," SIU coach Kerri Blaylock said. "She is an RBI producer and can play first base as well as designated player. She is a very good student and has played at a very high level. We are excited that she is a Saluki."

Tate, a Mount Vernon native who was The Southern's 2011 softball player of the year, joins the Saluki coaching staff following a successful career at Tennessee-Martin and a stint as a graduate assistant with the Salukis' strength and conditioning staff. Tate will assist Blaylock with the team's pitchers, work with the staff to complete day-to-day responsibilities, and throw live batting practice.

As a player, Tate played first, third and pitched for the Skyhawks from 2012-15. Tate started all four years at UT-Martin and led the Ohio Valley Conference in batting average, home runs and RBIs while also going 20-6 as a pitcher in 2013. Her 56 RBIs that season was a Skyhawk single-season record.

Tate earned a bachelor's degree in human and health performance from UT-Martin and earned a master's degree from SIU in sports administration.

"We had the opportunity to add Kenzi as a volunteer and we are excited to do so," Blaylock said. "She was a great competitor as a player and did a great job on the mound and at the plate. We look forward to her working with us."

The Salukis begin the 2018 season Feb. 9 with a doubleheader against Abilene Christian and Texas–San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas at the UTSA Softball Classic.

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