EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE softball travels to the state of Kentucky this weekend for doubleheaders at Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.
SIUE, 28-7 overall and 4-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference, first faces Eastern Kentucky (14-19, 3-2 OVC) in a noon CT doubleheader Saturday. On Sunday, the Cougars meet Morehead State (21-11, 3-3 OVC) at 11 a.m. CT for two games.
"Every weekend is extremely important," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Every conference game you play is important."
Eastern Kentucky will commemorate the grand opening of the new Gertrude Hood Field Saturday with an on-field ceremony before the game's first pitch that includes its president and athletic director.
"I'm sure it will be a fun atmosphere," said Montgomery. "I know Coach (Jane) Worthington is really excited about getting a new field. It's their opening weekend so no question they will be bringing their 'A' game to us."
EKU's Rachel Minogue is the OVC's top hitter with a .442 batting average. In 33 games, she has 42 hits and 27 runs batted in.
As a team, Eastern Kentucky holds a 3.69 earned run average. The Colonels have struck out 173 batters in 208 2/3 innings.
Morehead State's pitching staff is fourth in the OVC in earned run average at 2.73. Chelsea McManaway has the lowest ERA among OVC starters at 1.24 and holds a 12-5 record.
Allison Rager is the Eagles' top hitter at .400. She also has eight home runs and 29 RBIs.
"It's always tough to play on the road," said Montgomery. "Morehead is definitely a tough place to play."
The Cougars are coming off a 10-0, five-inning win over Bradley. Montgomery said she will continue to show the team areas in which it needs to improve, and the Cougars simply will aim to get better each game.
"They've done a good job of accepting that criticism and are trying to put us in a better, consistent level of play," said Montgomery. "Hopefully, that will show up this weekend."