CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – SIUE softball blasted four home runs Friday, including a pair of grand slams, en route to a doubleheader sweep at Southeast Missouri.
The Cougars clipped the Redhawks 13-0 in five innings in game one and gained the sweep with an 11-1 win in six innings during the nightcap.
SIUE, winners of 14 of its last 16 games, improved to 21-8 overall and 6-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Cougars play Southeast Missouri, now 10-17 and 3-4 in the OVC, in a single game to close out the series at 1 p.m. Saturday.
With 24 runs on 25 hits for the day, SIUE's bats were Cougar red hot all day.
"They've really bought into the hitting philosophy," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Coach (Buddy) Foster has been hammering it to them all year. When we need clutch hits, they lock in and we have big innings." SIUE had a pair of six-run rallies in game one and a nine-run rally in game two.
Perhaps no one's bat was as hot as right fielder Brittany Toney. She blasted two solo home runs in the first game. The sophomore ended the day 6 for 6 with four extra base hits and a staggering 2.333 slugging percentage.
Toney said the weather had kept the team from practicing outdoors for most of the week. That made her anxious for this series.
"I was extremely excited to get out there and play today, and this was a big game for us," Toney said. "Once I started rolling, I kept going after that."
"She was one fire – absolutely on fire," said Montgomery. "She made them pay every time."
SIUE's pitching staff easily could be slighted (but shouldn't) with the offense's big day. Both Haley Chambers and Erin Greenwalt picked up victories as SIUE extended its winning streak to four games.
Chambers took advantage of SIUE's offensive explosion in the opener. She allowed three hits in her third shutout of the season. The Cougar freshman, 11-2, has now won eight straight games as well as all four of her OVC contests.
Greenwalt improved to 7-3 with the win in the second game. She struck out three and scattered nine SEMO hits.
"Haley threw really well the first game. She was sharp. In the second game, Erin wasn't as quite as sharp as she wanted to be but she spread the hits out and she executed pitches when she needed," said Montgomery.
The Cougars hit .446 for the day. Montgomery said she certainly doesn't expect to score 10 runs in any OVC contest. Her team will need to keep its focus for Saturday's third game of the series.
"They could pitch better than they did today. So we have to lock in and make sure we're making adjustments to whatever they try to do," said Montgomery.