EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE softball is now past the midway point of the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference season, and the Cougars have a pair of strong road opponents scheduled for this weekend.
SIUE, 10-2 in OVC play and 35-8 overall, face off against Jacksonville State, 32-9 overall and 11-1 in the OVC, for a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. The Gamecocks and the Cougars currently are No. 1 and No. 2 in the OVC standings.
On Sunday, SIUE meets Tennessee Tech for a noon doubleheader. The Golden Eagles have surged in OVC play to fifth place at 7-5 while holding a 15-25 overall record.
"We've got a really tough part of our conference schedule left," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Jacksonville State is first in the conference right now. They are a good team. They have good pitching, and we're playing at their place so it's no easy task."
The Cougars are coming off a 7-3 victory Tuesday at Saint Louis. Montgomery adjusted her team's lineup a bit. SIUE scored in four of seven innings.
"I'm not sure what we'll do this weekend," said Montgomery. "It's all about pitching matchups, whether we're seeing pitches we can drive and swinging at good counts."
Allison Smiley took over as the team's leading hitter this week at .350. She also leads the team with 12 multiple-RBI games and 35 RBIs total.
Haley Chambers-Book anchors the SIUE pitching staff with a 1.20 earned run average that includes eight shutouts and one shared shutout. With 84 career victories, Chambers-Book needs one more to pass Montgomery for second on SIUE's all-time wins list.
Jacksonville State enters the weekend with the league's top batting average (.311) and lowest team earned run average (1.77). The Gamecocks are led by pitcher Whitney Gillespie with a 1.09 ERA. The team's top hitter is Anna Chisolm with 49 hits, sixth best in the OVC. She also leads the OVC in runs scored per game (1.02).
Tennessee Tech leads the OVC in home runs per game at exactly one per contest. That ranks the Golden Eagles 20th nationally. As a team, Tennessee Tech is batting .235, 10th in the OVC. The pitching staff holds a 3.84 ERA.