Panthers wrap up regular season with SIUE

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern softball team will be taking on conference rival Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in three games this weekend at Williams Field.

It is senior day for EIU and seniors Bailey O’Dell and Hannah Cole will be honored for everything that they have done in their four years at Eastern.

These three games will be some of the most important games the Panthers have played this season as the race to an Ohio Valley Conference tournament berth is very close.

O’Dell said she and the Panthers know how important these games are.

“Our main focus is to win and to do that is to do the little things right,” O’Dell said. “We have to get rid of the stupid mistakes and play like we know we can.”

Edwardsville sits atop the standings with a 19-4 record and will most likely secure the top seed for the tournament.

Even though the Cougars are at the top of the conference the team will not approach them any differently, O’Dell said.

“We approach them just like any other game playing any other team,” O’Dell said. “Softball is such an unpredictable sport. You never really know what can happen. We just need to play all out and let the rest take care of itself.”

The Panthers are currently in sixth place in the conference with a 12-10 record. Each of these games could determine where the Panthers will finish in the standings.

The Cougars has the top pitcher in the conference in junior Haley Chambers. Chambers has a 1.48 earned run average and has 251 strikeouts in 184 2/3 innings pitched.

O’Dell said the tough pitching is one of the biggest obstacles the Panthers will have to face against the Cougars.

“Their pitching is pretty good and it’s something we’re going to have to overcome,” O’Dell said. “We have to have quality at-bats and not let knowing she’s a good pitcher change our mindset in the box.”

The Panthers will have a little bit of extra motivation coming into the weekend as they just took down Southern Illinois-Carbondale 4-0 on Wednesday.

Freshman Michelle Rogers got back to her usual form and pitched all seven innings to record the shutout and get the win.

Rogers will be relied on to do some pitching along with fellow freshman Jessica Wireman.

Wireman will be on the mound for the first game of the series.

She leads the team with a 3.82 earned run average. She is also 10-11 on the year with 132 innings pitched.

The first pitch for game one on Saturday is set for 1 p.m. Game two on Saturday will follow at 3 p.m.

The Panthers are scheduled to play at noon on Sunday.

 

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]