By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It all came down to a flip of a coin.
As the weekend opened, the Tennessee Tech softball team had to stay one win ahead of SIUE to earn the final spot in the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Softball Championship. If the Cougars won one game, they would tie the Golden Eagles and the tiebreaker could not be decided until the knot at the top for the No. 1-seed between Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri was decided.
In the OVC's ADAA handbook, it is mandated that ties are broken at the top, then worked on the way down, so the JSU-SEMO tie had to be resolved first, because the tie for the No. 3 seed between Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State and the No. 8 tie between Tech and SIUE could not be decided until that top spot was named.
The tiebreakers for the top spot were even all the way down the line, making the coin flip necessary. Tech went 1-1 against Jacksonville State on Alyssa Arden's no-hitter against the Gamecocks, but was swept by SEMO in a pair of one-run games. SIUE was swept by Jacksonville State and split against the Redhawks.
The games proceeded to fuel Tech's hopes as Murray State swept the Cougars on Saturday, then Austin Peay took the first game.
But SIUE rallied to win the second game, topping the Govs 5-4 in eight innings to force the tie in the eighth spot as well.
So it then became a 50-50 shot, a coin toss held on a conference call as OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche flipped the coin and decided the tournament field.
Jacksonville State won the right to choose and Gamecocks head coach Jana McGinnis called tails. If JSU won the toss, the Golden Eagles were in. The other way, Tech's season was done.
The coin landed heads.
With that, Southeast Missouri earns the top seed to the OVC tournament and SIUE takes the No. 8 spot into the field. The Golden Eagles wrap up their season with an 18-27 record, 8-14 in the conference, and ends the 2019 campaign with a seven-game losing streak.
Tech played its last scheduled game a week ago and had to play the waiting game as several OVC teams had to play make-up games this weekend.