EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Two softball teams tied for the lead in the Ohio Valley Conference standings will be on hand Saturday at Cougar Field as SIUE entertains UT Martin in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
SIUE enters the contest with a 26-6 record overall while UT Martin holds a 24-8 record. Both teams are tied with Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois with the best OVC record at 3-1.
"You're just trying to play everyone well and hopefully put your best foot forward and play your 'A' game," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "The conference this year has done a better job of playing quality opponents. We have several teams that are playing well that have good records and are much higher in the RPI. That's a testament to the OVC. It certainly puts pressure on teams to perform every weekend."
The Cougars are coming off a 4-0 victory at SIU Carbondale in which Haley Chambers-Book recorded her 14th victory of the season. The senior left-hander is ninth nationally in strikeouts with 161.
Chambers-Book and teammate Emily Ingles both are ranked in the top 20 nationally in strikeouts per seven innings. Ingles, a freshman, is 15th at 9.7 per seven innings while Chambers-Book is 20th at 9.5 per seven innings.
As a team, SIUE holds a 1.96 earned run average, second best in the OVC. Chambers-Book holds a 1.54 ERA followed by Ingles at 2.11.
SIUE redshirt freshman Zoe Schafer leads the Cougars in batting average (.375) and hits (36). As a team, the Cougars are hitting .277 and have outscored their opponents 151-71.
UT Martin enters the doubleheader as the league's top hitting team with a .327 batting average. Jodi Duncan is the top hitter with a .378 batting average followed closely by Savannah Dodson at .377. The Skyhawks lead the OVC in stolen bases with 97.
UT Martin starter Brooke Kennedy is 11-2 overall with a 3.10 earned run average and leads the team with nine complete games.
"They are a well-rounded team," said Montgomery. "They have team power and speed. They are swinging the bats well and scoring a lot of runs."
Saturday also is alumni day at Cougar Field. Many of SIUE's top players from years past will appear on the field between games.