Weekend matchups set to shake up OVC softball standings

Eastern+softball+coach+Tara+Archibald+talks+to+the+team+during+the+eighth+inning+during+the+first+game+of+a+doubleheader+against+SIUE+Wednesday+afternoon.+The+Panthers+won+the+game+6-5+in+11+innings.+

Rob Le Cates

Eastern softball coach Tara Archibald talks to the team during the eighth inning during the first game of a doubleheader against SIUE Wednesday afternoon. The Panthers won the game 6-5 in 11 innings.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The OVC softball regular season is in its final 10 days. Five weekend conference series are set to be played this weekend, with teams looking to solidifying their seeding for the postseason.

First-place Belmont is hosting Eastern in Nashville, with the Panthers coming in after snapping a nine-game losing streak by sweeping a Wednesday doubleheader from SIUE. The Panthers are now solidly in seventh place, two games up on eighth-place SIUE. Belmont is 17-5 in conference play while Eastern is now 8-14.

Murray State fell into second place as a result of getting swept in a Wednesday doubleheader by Austin Peay. The Racers have now lost three in a row and are 16-6 in conference play. The will look to bounce back on the road with a weekend set against Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles are in fifth place with a 13-9 OVC record.

Also at 13-9 in conference play is sixth-place Austin Peay, who will put that winning streak on the line against Tennessee-Martin in Martin. The Skyhawks dropped their last two games and are now 12-7 and inn fourth place.

Just ahead of them is Southeast Missouri with a 13-7 conference record. The Redhawks are currently on a three-game winning streak and will be on the road this weekend against SIUE. This may be good news for the Cougars considering that the Redhawks are 11-0 at home this season in conference play, making them the only OVC team without a conference loss at home. However, the Cougars currently the OVC’s longest active losing streak at four games.

The two teams currently not holding an OVC Softball Championship spot, Morehead State and Tennessee State, will face off in Morehead, giving one of the teams an opportunity to get closer to the eighth seed. Tennessee State is coming off a win in the series finale against Belmont that snapped a nine-game losing streak. Morehead State has lost five of its last six games.

Individually, Eastern’s Hannah Cravens still leads the conference in home runs with 13 despite having not having one in the last 12 games. Austin Peay’s Lexi Osowski is now right behind Cravens with 12 home runs. Osowski is leading the conference with a .440 batting average, ranking 11th in the nation. Belmont’s Cheyenne Cavanaugh has stolen 27 bases this season in 27 attempts, ranking first in the OVC and 21st in the nation.

In the circle, Murray State owns the best ERA in the OVC at 1.61 which ranks fifth in the nation. The Racers also have the top two pitchers in terms of ERA, Hannah James and Jenna Veber, who own ERAs of 1.20 and 1.64 respectively. James also leads the conference with 145.2 innings pitched and 190 strikeouts and ranks fifth in the nation with a strikeout-to-walk ratio 11.31.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]