EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE softball scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and grabbed a 3-2 victory over Missouri State Wednesday at Cougar Field.
SIUE improved to 24-6 while Missouri State dropped to 14-15.
The Cougars had troubles scoring in the first five innings against Missouri State starter Erin Struemph, but came from behind to score all three runs off Bears' reliever Chelsea Jones. Missouri State scored two runs off two hits in the first inning and held the lead until late in the contest.
"We didn't show up in the first inning, and I just got on them in the clubhouse about that," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Games are won and lost in the first inning. We very well could have lost that one, but Rachel Keller stepped up with a big double to tie the game."
Keller provided the key hit with a two-run, bases loaded double to the gap in left-center field, tying the score 2-2.
"They came in with a different pitcher," said Keller. "I felt comfortable off this pitcher. I got two balls and I knew she wasn't going to go down 3-0 on me so I knew I was going to get something to hit. It worked out in our favor."
After Keller's double, Allison Smiley moved over to third on the play. She would score the winning run with some smart baserunning. Alex McDavid struck out for the second out but the third strike was dropped. A play was made to throw out McDavid at first base. As McDavid was thrown out, Smiley made a successful run for home plate.
Montgomery said the play was not a scenario that she had discussed with Smiley before it happened.
"That's her being a game savvy player," said Montgomery.
Haley Chambers, the Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Pitcher of the Week, got off to a slow start, giving up two runs in the first inning. She turned it around after a visit to the mound by Associate Head Coach Jessica Jones, fanning three straight batters to finish the first inning.
Chambers, 14-3, struck out 10 batters in all and gave up four hits to the Bears.
"We're going to continue to get better, and she is no different," said Montgomery.
Article courtesy of www.siuecougars.com/sports