EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The SIUE softball team kicks off its 2017 home schedule Friday as the Cougars host their own tournament.
SIUE, 19-4 and receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches and ESPN.com/USA Softball national polls, play three games in the tournament. SIUE meets Toledo (3-13) at 4 p.m. Friday, Ball State (11-16) at noon Saturday and Northern Kentucky (10-17) at noon Sunday.
The Cougars enter the weekend with an eight-game winning streak after a successful spring break trip in Clearwater, Florida. SIUE freshman pitcher Emily Ingles was named the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week after her 4-0 performance that included part of SIUE's 33rd no-hitter in school history with Ashley Koziol.
The pitching staff that also includes senior Haley Chambers-Book recorded a team earned run average of 0.55 with 73 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched.
"Our pitchers and our defense are going to keep us in ball games," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.
SIUE is 15-1 so far this season when scoring first as well as 4-3 when its opponent scores first.
"That is a sign of having a lot of confidence in your offense and your pitching," said Montgomery.
For the season, the SIUE offense is batting .279. Second baseman Allison Smiley and first baseman Zoe Schafer are tied for the team lead with 24 hits. Smiley is tops on the team with 25 runs batted in.
"We're swinging the bat fairly well, and I think the kids believe in each other one through nine," added Montgomery.