EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Ohio Valley Conference play continues Friday for the SIUE softball team as it heads to Southeast Missouri for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
The Cougars are scheduled to return home to Cougar Field Sunday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Eastern Illinois (27-8, 6-0 OVC).
SIUE (15-11 and 5-1 OVC) is coming off a 4-3 nonconference victory at Bradley. It was SIUE's first action in the month of April.
"I think the time off helped us in certain ways and hurt us in certain ways," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Getting back on the field is getting the rust off."
With the weather causing shifts in schedules, some OVC teams have played as many as 10 league games while SIUE is among four teams which have played just six so far. Still, the OVC standings are tight with five teams all within two games of the league lead. EIU remains the only team without a league loss.
"They (EIU) are clearly playing with a lot of confidence," said Montgomery. "SEMO (22-15, 6-4 OVC) has been playing with a lot of confidence as well. Both teams swing the bats, and both teams have good pitching. It's a matter of showing up and playing at our level and playing the best we can on any given day. When we do that, we're going to win games."
SIUE's pitching staff has posted a 2.65 earned run average over the first 26 games. Sophomore Emily Ingles leads the team with 10 wins, 100.2 innings pitched and 87 strikeouts. Montgomery said it was important to get the pitching back into a competitive atmosphere away from practice.
"It's always important for the pitchers to pitch in game situations," said Montgomery. "It's just not possible as hard as you try to mimic that in practice."
Redshirt sophomore Zoe Schafer continues to lead the offense with a .406 batting average. She has reached base in all 26 SIUE games this season. Freshman Bailley Concatto is second with a .360 batting average.
SEMO pitcher Madeline Krumrey leads the Redhawks in wins with 10. She holds a 3.86 earned run average. SEMO's offense is hitting .270 as team with Rachel Anderson leading the team in hits with 37 in 37 games played.
For Eastern Illinois, the Panthers are sporting a 10-game winning streak heading into the weekend. Pitchers Jessica Wireman and Michelle Rogers have 13 and 12 wins, respectively. First baseman Haley Mitchell sparks the offense with a .438 batting average.