EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE will play Southeast Missouri at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the opening game of the Ohio Valley Conference Softball Championships at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama.
The Cougars closed out the regular season Sunday on Senior Day with a split against Eastern Kentucky. SIUE won game one 12-0 in five innings and dropped the nightcap 4-0.
SIUE completed the regular season with a 24-19 record overall and a 14-8 mark in OVC play. The Cougars earned the fifth seed and meets fourth-seeded SEMO (33-18, 15-7) in the opening round of the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
"We're glad to be in the tournament," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "SEMO has had our number three times so we're looking forward to playing. We're going to put our best foot forward."
The first round of the tournament starts Wednesday and includes top-seeded Eastern Kentucky (37-16, 10-3) against eighth-seeded Morehead State (27-21, 8-14) at 5:30 p.m.; No. 2 seed Austin Peay (36-15, 17-4) against seventh-seeded UT Martin (25-30, 9-13) at 12:30 p.m.; and No. 3 seed Jacksonville State (30-22, 16-6) against sixth-seeded Eastern Illinois (34-18, 13-9).
SIUE celebrated Senior Day between games, introducing its five seniors and their respective families to the crowd at Cougar Field. Haley Adrian, Tess Eby, Ashley Koziol, Talisa Morton and Maria Prete played in their final home contest Sunday.
In game one, SIUE's Emily Ingles continued her dominant weekend with a one-hit shutout over EKU. She needed just 63 pitches to defeat the Colonels.
SIUE lashed out for five runs in the first inning off EKU starter Murphy McRoberts, who was pulled from the game after her sixth SIUE batter Kalei Kaneshiro hit a two-run double that scored Reagan Curtis and Zoe Schafer.
"We had a good warmup first game," said Kaneshiro. "We did some things that made us uncomfortable so during the game everything felt good and easy."
A second outburst of runs happened in the fourth. SIUE rallied for seven runs, its biggest offensive inning of the 2018 season. Kaneshiro added another two-RBI hit as did Alyssa Heren. All 12 runs, which was the most SIUE has scored since game two of the season, were earned runs.
In game two, SIUE didn't have an answer for EKU hurler Mollie Paulick, who allowed just three hits. A three-run rally that included three straight doubles at one point helped seal the victory for the Colonels.
"I thought we played really well the first game," said Montgomery. "Paulick is a good pitcher. We didn't handle her the best."
Corrina Rivas took in the loss in four innings of work. Koziol tossed the final three innings and did not allow an EKU run.