OXFORD, Ala. – SIUE softball dropped its first contest of the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, falling to top-seeded Jacksonville State 6-2 at Choccolocco Park.
"They came out and took over the game in the first inning," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "I liked how we responded. We did score a run in the first inning. We had opportunities. We hit the ball right at people at times but couldn't get anything going offensively."
SIUE, 40-12, next faces UT Martin in a rematch of the second round game. UT Martin eliminated Eastern Kentucky 5-3 late Friday night. Game time for the SIUE-UT Martin tilt is 10 a.m. with that winner moving on to face Jacksonville State, needing to win twice over the Gamecocks for the OVC Tournament crown.
Jacksonville State, 39-10, got its offense in high gear in the first inning. Stephanie Lewis' two-run homer highlighted the inning.
The Cougars came back for one run in the bottom of the first. Alyssa Heren began the game with a single through the right side and moved into scoring position on her team-leading 30th stolen base of the season. Haley Chambers-Book made it runners at first and third with a single to center field. Zoe Schafer drove home Heren with an infield hit to the Jacksonville State shortstop.
The Gamecocks added a single tally in the fifth and two more runs in the seventh.
SIUE's final push in the seventh was a home run by Sarah Lopesilvero off the scoreboard in right field. It was her sixth of the season.
"I wanted the kids to battle," said Montgomery. "She put a quality swing on that pitch."
Whitney Gillespie went the distance for Jacksonville State and is now 20-4. Chambers-Book fanned three in seven inning and was charged with the loss. She is 26-7.