Future league foe SIU Edwardsville in town for three-game series

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- While the rest of the Ohio Valley Conference will begin grinding gears in the league race this weekend, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will be preparing for the future with a three-game series in Bush Stadium against SIU Edwardsville.

The Cougars (5-15) will be joining the OVC in championship play next season in softball and in 2011-2012 in all other sports.

Even though they are non-conference contests this year, coach Matt Bragga and the Golden Eagles eye this series as an opportunity to gain momentum heading into OVC play. Tech (10-11 overall) rebounded from a three-game losing streak at Memphis with a convincing 15-5 victory Tuesday at Belmont.

Following the series with SIUE, Tech plays at Tennessee on Tuesday, then opens OVC play with series at Jacksonville State, April 2-3.

SIUE comes to town after being swept in a three-game series last weekend by Evansville. Prior to that, the Cougars had won three straight.

The Cougars have five hitters with averages above the .300 mark, led by freshman James Vasquez with a .364 mark and senior lefty Adam Eggemeyer with a .356 average and team-highs of eight doubles, three triples and five home runs. 

On the mound, senior left-hander Dustin Quattrochi (2-3) has two of SIUE's five wins and a 6.89 ERA to rank second on the squad.

The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, have eight hitters above the .300 mark this season including three who top the .400 plateau.

Junior A.J. Kirby-Jones, who currently ranks second in the nation in both home runs and slugging percentage, tops Tech with a .465 average. He has hit 10 home runs and driven in 30 in the last 10 games.

Freshman Zephan Guyear is second the the team with a .439 mark while junior Chad Oberacker is hitting .423.

The series opens Friday with a game at 3 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. contest Saturday and Sunday's finale at 1 p.m. Admission is free to all home regular season games at Bush Stadium.