EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The SIUE softball 2017 regular season comes to a close Saturday afternoon in Charleston, Illinois.
The Cougars, 37-10 overall and 12-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference, face Eastern Illinois, 26-18 overall and 9-4 in the OVC, in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Williams Field. While it serves as Senior Day for the Panthers, it also is the final games before the field is announced for next week's Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
"We have not played in a week, and it has been raining," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "We haven't been outside. We have been able to hit because of our indoor facility. The pitchers all have been able to throw. We'll be happy to be able to get back on the field."
SIUE and Eastern Illinois both have guaranteed their respective spots in the eight-team OVC Tournament, which will be played May 10-13 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama. The eights seeds and the first round games will be announced Saturday evening. Montgomery said the teams looking to get into the tournament are watching the league scoreboard more so than the teams already in.
"We're not going to worry about that," said Montgomery. "We're just going to play and hopefully clean softball. We want to play up to the level were are capable of and get ready for the conference tournament."
The Cougars are sixth in the OVC in hitting at .284. Senior Allison Smiley leads the team in hitting with a .354 batting average. She also is tops in RBIs with 37.
Senior left-hander Haley Chambers-Book leads the OVC in wins with 23 and holds a 1.24 earned run average with 229 strikeouts.
EIU's Taylor Monahan holds the top batting average for the Panthers at .368 and is second on the squad in stolen bases with 27. As a team, Eastern Illinois is eighth in hitting among OVC schools at .279.
Eastern Illinois is third in the OVC in earned run average at 2.38. Jessica Wireman leads the team in victories with 15 and strikeouts with 151.
"We're looking forward to getting some sunshine," added Montgomery. "Hopefully, it will be sunny at Eastern. We'll get on the field and get back to work."