SIUE Gains Split on Opening Day

SIUE's Amanda Lambrecht

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Amanda Lambrecht tossed a four-hitter as SIUE softball picked up a 2-1 victory Friday over South Alabama on the opening day of the MSU Bulldog Kickoff Classic.


SIUE ended day one of the tournament 1-1 after beginning the tournament with a 10-9 loss to Georgia State. SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery said she was pleased with the team's poise after the first game.


"It was game one of the season. We learned a lot from it," said Montgomery. "I'm happy with the way they responded," she said.


The Cougars grabbed the early lead against South Alabama with two runs in the second inning when Brittany Toney reached on an infield error as Taylor Tooley and Rachel Coonrod scored on the play.


Lambrecht said she used the momentum to keep going strong.


"I felt like I had everybody behind me. Everybody had my back," said Lambrecht.


"She threw very well," said Montgomery. "She sprayed the hits around and made quality pitches."


Kayla Riggs was the big hitter of the day for the Cougars. The junior started both games at first base and responded with big hits. In game one, she was 2 for 3 with four RBIs, including a three-run double in SIUE's seven-run fourth inning. Riggs was 1 of 2 against South Alabama with her second double of the season.


"Everything felt good today," said Riggs. "I was seeing the ball well today. I'm just happy to be back out there again."


Montgomery told Riggs she was starting at first base during pregame warmups.


"She had a great game. She stood out," said Montgomery.


SIUE's seven-run fourth inning against Georgia State was the most runs scored by the Cougars since the 2010 season when SIUE tallied seven against Indiana. The big inning wasn't enough to hold back Georgia State which matched the Cougars with eight hits.


SIUE led 9-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Georgia State tallied three runs in the bottom of the fourth and overtook the Cougars with four more in the fifth. Erin Greenwalt took the loss in relief of starter Haley Chambers.


Montgomery got her first look at SIUE's new lineup Friday. She noted the addition of freshman Jordan LaFave who played right field in game one and center field in game two. "She is very game savvy, no question," Montgomery said.


The Cougars now have two more games at the MSU Bulldog Kickoff Classic, hosted at Mississippi State's MSU Softball Field. SIUE faces Troy Saturday at 11 a.m. The Cougars meet Georgia State once more Sunday at 11 a.m.


Montgomery praised the offense which scored 11 runs on day one.


"We are so far ahead of where we have been in the past. Coach (Buddy) Foster has done a nice job of getting the hitters to understand what it takes to hit at this level."