On this episode of the College Baseball Central Podcast, Joe Healy talks Southern Illinois Salukis baseball with Todd Hefferman of The Southern Illinoisan.
Coming into the 2017 season, the Salukis looked the part of dark horse contenders in the MVC, what with just about every key piece from their 2016 team back in the fold. But they just never quite got going. There were some positive moments, to be sure, such as a road sweep of Stetson to start the season, but those were often followed by a step back, such as a series loss to a Louisiana-Monroe team that ended up finishing 12-43 immediately after the Stetson sweep.
In the end, they finished right about .500 across the board at 27-30 overall and 10-10 in league play, not a disastrous season by any stretch of the imagination, but not nearly as successful as was hoped coming into the campaign. Going into 2018, they’ll have some key pieces back, but they’ll also have some rebuilding to do, as Todd touches on during the podcast.
Among the topics discussed are:
- The factors that led SIU to fall short of expectations in 2017
- The moment or series of moments when Todd knew that the season might be getting away from the team
- The chances that SIU can mount a run at the league title in 2018 with some of the holdovers from 2017
- Who, among departing players, will be missed most
- The biggest reasons for optimism heading into 2018
- Potential breakout players for next season
- What it will take for a Missouri Valley Conference program to challenge the likes of Missouri State and Dallas Baptist on a yearly basis.