By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
OXFORD, Ala. – It all comes down to one last weekend.
For the Tennessee Tech softball team to reach the Ohio Valley Conference tournament next week, the Golden Eagles are going to have to give it their all against Jacksonville State.
The two teams play Friday in a doubleheader, starting at 1 p.m.
Tech (16-31, 7-13 in OVC play) stands on the outside looking in at 9th as Morehead State (8-10 in league play) took the eighth spot from the Golden Eagles during Sunday's split, then took a lead with a split against Murray State on Tuesday.
If the Golden Eagles win both games against the current third-place standing Gamecocks (28-22, 14-6 OVC) and Morehead State loses all four of its games against Eastern Illinois (31-17, 10-8 OVC) and SIUE (21-18, 11-7 OVC), then Tech could leapfrog Morehead to reclaim the final spot.
But, regardless, Tech has to win on Friday, and traveling to Jacksonville State and winning typically hasn't been an easy task. However, the Golden Eagles have done it before.
The Gamecocks are 8-4 at home this season, and JSU has won just one of its last five games, which makes the matchup even more intriguing.
As a team, Jacksonville State is batting .269 with 183 RBI and 29 home runs. Taylor Beshears has driven in 33 runs and hit seven home runs – both team highs. Alexis Jimmerson (.296) and Anna Chisolm (.269) both have more than 20 RBI with 25 and 24 respectively.
In the circle, Faith Sims has won 17 of her 28 starts, collecting a 2.10 earned run average. In 183 innings of work, she has walked 109 and struck out 124. Jimmerson has a 7-6 record in eight starts with a 3.53 ERA.
For the Golden Eagles, the team has hit .257 this season with 160 RBI and 36 home runs. Bayli Cruse remains the team leader in RBI with 31, while Raegan Sparks, the team leader in average (.301) and home runs (nine) is close behind.
In the circle, Taylor Waldrop continues to be solid in OVC play, and has a season record of 10-11 and a 3.40 ERA, striking out 81 and walking 48. Kayla Hughes (5-11) has a 4.59 ERA with 69 walks and 58 strikeouts.