The softball team faced Ohio Valley Conference opponents Morehead State University and Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 at Cougar Field. 

The Cougars split the first series against the Morehead State University Eagles. Both teams were looking to advance in the OVC, and the Cougars struck first with a 2-1 win in the first game. MSU took advantage of five Cougar errors in the second game to take the 6-2 victory. 

Head Coach Sandy Montgomery said the Cougars have to work hard until they are playing at the caliber at which they are capable of performing. 

“We have to play better. That’s the bottom line. We have a standard in our program, and we’re not meeting it. I will always believe in my kids to come through in the end, and we’re going to keep plugging away until we get it right,” Montgomery said. 

Sophomore pitcher Baylee Douglass picked up the win for the Cougars, allowing only three hits while walking five. The Eagles scored first with a single run in the third, and the Cougars answered in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman utility player Alyssa Heren reached first after being hit by a pitch. After a walk to senior outfielder Jordan LaFave, sophomore utility player Tess Eby hit a ball to the gap in right-center field that scored Heren and sent LaFave to second. 

Senior infielder Rachel Keller grounded out to the right side. While MSU attempted the double play, LaFave rounded third and made it home for the eventual game winner. 

Sophomore pitcher Ashley Koziol recorded the loss in the second game, in which the Eagles scored in each of the final four innings to split the series. Heren recorded her sixth home run of the season with a solo homer in the sixth.

The Cougars were scheduled to play a doubleheader versus the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels, but a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay forced the teams to cancel the second game. 

The game belonged to EKU, scoring eight runs on nine hits while holding the Cougars to a single run. 

Montgomery said the Cougars are not playing at their full potential in any aspect on the field.

“We’re not playing any phase of the game well. We have to pick ourselves up and get back at it. We’re better than what we’re playing,” Montgomery said. 

The Colonels took the early lead, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. From there, EKU would capitalize on three SIUE errors to score two more runs in each of the fifth and seventh innings. 

Douglass took the loss for the Cougars, dropping her record to 8-7. EKU’s Hayley Flynn was the winning pitcher for the Colonels with 11 strikeouts and improved her record to 18-3.

The Cougars play a three-game series against the Murray State University Racers April 15 through 17 in Murray, Ky. — a series Montgomery says the Cougars will prepare for. 

“We are going to use this whole week to get ready for Murray State. We’ve got to build confidence and get back on track,” Montgomery said. 

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