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This Week in Saluki Athletics | Football goes for semifinal berth, baseball and softball back at home

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SIU Weber State Football

SIU quarterback Stone Labanowitz scrambles against Weber State Saturday at Stewart Stadium in Ogden, Utah. Labanowitz threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Salukis past the Wildcats, 34-31, in the second round of the FCS playoffs. 

CARBONDALE — The football team is back in the FCS quarterfinals, and the baseball and softball teams return home, in This Week in Saluki Athletics.

Following last weekend's 34-31 win at No. 3 Weber State, the 14th-ranked Salukis (6-3) head to South Dakota this weekend to take on the top overall seed in the postseason. SIU and No. 2 South Dakota State (6-1) kick off at 8 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2 in Brookings, South Dakota. The Jackrabbits beat the Salukis in Carbondale, 44-3, in what was SIU's worst loss of the spring.

After two straight series on the road, the SIU baseball team (26-12, 6-10 Missouri Valley Conerence) returns home to face Murray State (21-16) Tuesday night before jumping back into league play Friday against Missouri State (15-11, 5-3). The softball team (31-11, 13-7) plays at Missouri State (21-15, 12-5) Wednesday night before returning home to take on Valparaiso (5-28, 1-17) Saturday and Sunday.

Here's a look at this week's events:

Tuesday

• Baseball (26-12) hosts Murray State (21-16), 5 p.m. (ESPN+), Jones Stadium: The Salukis went 2-6 at Bradley and Valparaiso the last two weekends, but are 17-6 at home this season. The Racers have won five straight games and are 10-12 away from Murray, Kentucky.

• Men's golf at MVC championship, Flossmoor Country Club: SIU was tied for third with Illinois State late Monday night at 36 over par. Loyola was leading the field at 17 over. SIU's Matthis Besard was tied for fifth and Justin Wingerter was eighth on the player leaderboard.

Wednesday

• Softball (31-11, 13-7 MVC) at Missouri State (21-15, 12-5), noon, Springfield, Mo.: The Salukis try to salvage a game against the Lady Bears in their split three-game series. MSU swept SIU in a doubleheader earlier this season, 4-0 and 4-1. SIU comes off a 2-1 series win over Indiana State on the road last weekend.

Friday

• Baseball hosts Missouri State (15-11, 5-3), Jones Stadium, 6 p.m.: SIU and the Bears kick off a four-game series.

• Track at Rock Chalk Invitational, Lawrence, Kan.: The men's and women's track team travels to the University of Kansas for a two-day invitational. SIU won five events at its last competition in Louisville. Willie Johnson won the 400-meter dash, Kyle Lind won the 110 hurdles, Omar Rodgers won the 400 hurdles, and Ricky Hurley won the hammer throw on the men's side. Shauniece O'Neal won the hammer ahead of teammate Elisa Lancaster on the women's side. 

Saturday

• Baseball hosts Missouri State, Jones Stadium, 2/5 p.m. doubleheader: SIU and the Bears continue their four-game series with a Saturday afternoon. 

• Softball hosts Valparaiso, West Stadium, 2/4:30 p.m. doubleheader: SIU returns home after playing at Missouri State Wednesday to host the Brown & Gold, which has won one conference game so far. 

• Track at Rock Chalk Invitational, Lawrence, Kan.: The men's and women's track team closes action at the University of Kansas.

Sunday

• Baseball hosts Missouri State, Jones Stadium, 1 p.m.: SIU and the Bears close their four-game series.

• Softball hosts Valparaiso, 11 a.m., West Stadium: SIU and the Brown & Gold close out their three-game series.

• Football (6-3) at No. 2 South Dakota State (6-1), FCS quarterfinals, Dykhouse Stadium, Brookings, S.D., 8 p.m. (ESPN2): The Salukis are in the national quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. The Jackrabbits are the top overall seed in the playoffs. 

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087 / On Twitter: @THefferman

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