EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE softball begins week two of the 2017 season and travels to Auburn, Alabama, for five games.
SIUE, 5-0 after a sweep at the Mardi Gras Classic last weekend, faces No. 2 Auburn at Jane B. Moore Field in a 6 p.m. single game Thursday before the start of the Plainsman Invitational. The tournament schedule begins with Auburn (3-1) in a 4:45 p.m. game Friday followed by Evansville (0-0) at 7 p.m. On Saturday, SIUE faces Mercer (2-2) at 10:30 a.m. with a rematch on Sunday against Mercer at 11:45 p.m.
The two games against Auburn will be shown online at watchespn.com via the SEC Network+. Fans will need a login through their television provider (i.e. Charter) to access the video.
SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery said her team's play was good for an opening weekend. The team will look to build on their success.
"The uniqueness of this weekend is playing Auburn in their home opener," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "It will be good experience for the kids. We'll be playing one of the best teams in the country. It will be a good atmosphere. It will have a postseason feel for us, which is something that I think is good to have early in the season so you can see how you stack up and where you need to go."
SIUE displayed its offensive potential in its first five games, outscoring the competition 31-10, including an eight-run seventh inning in the win over Sam Houston State. The Cougars have succeeded with a youth movement.
"We've got two freshman and a sophomore in the outfield," said Montgomery. "We have a freshman at third and a redshirt freshman at first. We are really, really young."
Montgomery also used a deep bench in its first five games.
"I play the best nine, and whoever is the best nine that weekend is going to get the opportunities," said Montgomery. "The kids all know that opportunities are won in practice. Their performance in a game keeps them in the lineup."
Despite a lineup that hit .290 on the weekend, Montgomery said more changes to the lineup may still occur.
"It's certainly not a set lineup," said Montgomery. "We're going to put hitters in situations in which they will be successful."
SIUE's pitching staff recorded a team earned run average of 1.56 with 52 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched.
Haley Chambers-Book, the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week, led the Cougars with 26 strikeouts and a 0.74 ERA. Emily Ingles and Ashley Koziol each recorded their first win of the season at the Mardi Gras Classic.
"Overall depth-wise, I think we're in good shape," added Montgomery.