COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- For the 17th time in its 18 years of existence, the Ohio Valley Conference Softball Tournament will include Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles are the sixth seed and will play third-seed Jacksonville State Thursday at 10 a.m.
The three-day tournament, hosted by top-seeded UT Martin, features six teams in a double-elimination format.
UT Martin and Eastern Illinois are one and two seeds, respectively, and have earned a first-round bye. Fourth-seeded Murray State will face the fifth seed Eastern Kentucky following Tech's opening game.
Tech has been the sixth seed one other time, in 2010 when the tournament was also at UT Martin. That year, the Golden Eagles won three games before falling to the top-seeded Skyhawks by just one run in the final game before the championship.
In their last meeting, Tech beat JSU in Jacksonville by a score of 4-1 thanks to the arm of senior Holly Thomas. She held the Gamecock offense to just three hits and struck out five batters. Junior Chanelle Spalding hit two hits, including a double, drove in a run and scored a run.
The Gamecocks, however, took the season series as they won both games of a doubleheader in Cookeville on March 21. JSU pitcher Tiffany Harbin threw a shutout and struck out seven Tech batters in the 6-0 win. The Gamecocks went on to win the second game 5-1. Chanelle Spalding scored Tech's only run of the game.
With a victory in the first game, the Golden Eagles would go on to face Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. Thursday. If Tech were to lose to Jacksonville State, it would fall to the consolation bracket to take on the loser of the Murray State vs. EKU matchup on Friday morning.
Thursday's games will be available live on radio in the Cookeville area on 106.1 FM The Eagle. Brandon Goodwin will be providing the play-by-play. Fans can also keep up with the games on twitter by following @TTUGoldenEagles.