CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Haley Chambers won her ninth straight game Saturday as SIUE softball cruised to a 9-1 six-inning victory over Southeast Missouri at the SE Softball Complex.
The win completed the three-game sweep for the Cougars and also was the third straight short game over the Redhawks, now 10-18 and 3-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference. SIUE improved to an OVC-best 22-8 overall with a 7-2 record in OVC play.
SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery said Chambers was a bit up in the strike zone in allowing seven hits but worked her way to victory.
"You have to throw good enough to win, and that's what she did," said Montgomery.
Chambers struck out seven did not allow an earned run for the weekend. SEMO's lone run Saturday came in the second inning after the Redhawks were already behind 4-0.
SIUE catcher Samantha Stanicek, one of three players with two RBIs, said Chambers has handled the pressure despite being just a freshman.
"She has shown she can have an off day and still dominate the game," Stanicek said. "And she's only going to get better."
SIUE's offense continued to shine with seven different players recording at least one hit. SIUE hit .425 for the weekend series, recorded 33 runs, and finished with 11 extra-base hits.
The Cougars grabbed the lead from the start as Chelsea Yankolovich led off the game with a double down the left field line and off the fence against SEMO starter Taylor Cowan. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Taylor Tooley, Alex McDavid put SIUE up 1-0 with an RBI on a fielder's choice.
"She (Yankolovich) set the tone for the rest of the game," Montgomery said.
SIUE rallied for three runs in the second inning. After Brittany Toney, who went 6 for 6 Friday, was hit by a pitch to start the second inning, Kayla Riggs successfully made it to first on a sacrifice bunt. Stanicek and Jordan LaFave picked up back-to-back RBIs, and Tooley made it 4-0 with an RBI single of her own.
SEMO tried to slow down the Cougar offense by switching pitchers. The Redhawks brought in Hannah Clemons and Lindsey Patterson when the Cougars sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth inning.
"It takes us a little time to get going after switching, but they did a good job of adjusting to the pitchers," said Montgomery.
Stanicek led off the five-run fifth and was hit by a pitch. On her second time around, she was walked with the bases loaded. In between, the Cougars rapped four singles and earned two walks. That included a two-run single by Rachel Coonrod.
"We've been hitting well all season long, but I think our confidence is through the roof," said Stanicek.
SIUE, winners of five straight to close out the month of March, have one more game left on its nine-game road swing. The Cougars travel to Carbondale to take on rival SIU Carbondale for a 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The first homestand in more than two weeks begins next weekend when the Cougars welcome Tennessee State for a Saturday doubleheader and OVC newcomer Belmont for a Sunday doubleheader. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. each day.