EVANSVILLE, Ind. - SIUE softball scored three runs in both the first and fourth innings Tuesday as the Cougars doubled up Evansville 6-3 in a nonconference battle at Cooper Stadium.

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The Cougars improved to 18-22 for the season as Kelsey Ray went 6 2/3 innings for the victory. Sydney Baalman recorded the final out for SIUE and earned a save.

"Kelsey threw a fantastic game and was in control," said SIUE Head Coach Ben Sorden. "Baalman came in and shut the door."

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SIUE's offense got right to business in the first inning against Evansville starter-loser Sydney Weatherford. Paige Rocha and Lexi King began the game with singles. Emma Neuman reached on a error as Rocha scored. Hayley Palm picked up an RBI on an infield out that brought home King. After Micah Arps drew a walk, Piper Montgomery added an RBI also on an infield out.

"I thought Paige Rocha and Lexi King coming out hot swinging hard set the tone for the game," said Sorden.

The score extended out to 6-0 in the fourth inning as the Cougars used a walk from Montgomery and four straight hits from Madisyn Webster, Grace Lueke, Sherri Mason and Rocha to plate three more runs.

Evansville, which finished with seven hits, broke up Ray's no-hit bid in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Jess Willsey. The Purple Aces, now 21-22, added two more in the bottom of the seventh before the Cougars closed out the game.

SIUE, which won its fifth straight game of the season against a Missouri Valley Conference opponent, returns to Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend. It is Alumni Weekend for the Cougars as the team entertains Tennessee Tech for a three-game series beginning Saturday.

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