Defending league tourney champion Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will host the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament that begins play Wednesday.
The Cougars completed the regular season with the best record in the OVC at 20-6.
SIUE regular season finale Sunday resulted in a 10-inning, 1-0 loss for the Cougars at Eastern Illinois.
The Cougars, 39-14 overall, face No. 8 seed Morehead State in the opening round of the OVC Tournament at Cougar Field. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. SIUE will be looking to defend its OVC Tournament title from last season.
“That’s the ultimate goal for the regular season,” said SIUE coach Sandy Montgomery. “We’re very happy about that. Being the No. 1 seed going into the tournament is huge. It’s going to be a challenge, no question. Everybody is playing well. You can’t let your guard down. I’m looking forward to the tournament.”
The other first-round games include No. 3 Murray State vs. No. 6 Eastern Illinois at 10 a.m., No. 2 Jacksonville State vs. No. 7 Southeast Missouri at 12:30 p.m., and No. 4 Tennessee Tech vs. No. 5 Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m.
On Sunday, SIUE’s Haley Chambers and EIU’s Jessica Wireman were locked up in a pitcher’s duel.
Chambers, 22-6, struck out 13 batters and took over No. 2 all-time in a single season with 280 strikeouts. Back-to-back doubles by Hannah Cole and Kylie Bennett proved to be the difference in the bottom of the 10th inning.
“I felt like I pitched well enough to win,” Chambers said. “It all came down to timely hitting.”
“She threw really well today,” said Montgomery. “I’m very happy with how she has been performing. She was on fire offensively as well.”
Chambers led the Cougars with three hits. It was her 24th multi-hit game of the season.
Wireman went the full 10 innings and allowed seven hits. She improved her season record to 11-12.
Montgomery said the Cougars will be working on the same things in practice as they have all season in preparation for this week’s OVC Tournament.
“It is the conference tournament,” Chambers said. “Anyone can come in and win. Everyone has a fresh start so you have to be ready to go.”
Game 1 - No. 3 Murray State vs. No. 6 Eastern Illinois, 10 a.m.
Game 2 - No. 2 Jacksonville State vs. No. 7 Southeast Missouri, 12:30 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 4 Tennessee Tech vs. No. 5 Eastern Kentucky, 3 p.m.
Game 4 - No. 1 SIUE vs. No. 8 Morehead State, 5:30 p.m.
Game 5 - Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 6 - Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 12:30 p.m.
Game 7 - Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 8 - Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 5:30 p.m.
Game 9 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 10 - Game 8 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 12:30 p.m.
Game 11 - Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 12 - Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Game 13 - Game 12 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 14 - Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 12:30 p.m.
Game 15 - 30 minutes after Game 14 if necessary