MONROE, La. – On the day in which Haley Chambers-Book set the school record for career strikeouts, it was only fitting that SIUE softball play in an epic contest and the final out be a strikeout.
The Cougars ran their season-opening record to 4-0 with a 2-1 victory in 10 innings over host Louisiana-Monroe at the Mardi Gras Classic.
A perfect ending to the day for Chambers-Book was a strikeout of centerfielder Hunter Hogan to end the game. Chambers-Book finished the game with 14 strikeouts, pushing her career total to 748. She broke the record set by Erika Taylor with 737 (2008-11).
"I'm just super blessed to be here and have the team I have behind me," said Chambers-Book. "It's an honor to play for this program and compete the way we do. I'm very lucky to be here."
Chambers-Book allowed four hits and walked one for her second win of the season.
"Without question, she is going to be, if not already, better than she was," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "This is what I expected. She is a competitor. She loves to win and loves to play. She is relentless when it comes to a highly-competitive game."
In a game that had the feel of a postseason game, SIUE didn't back down from the Warhawks.
"It was very competitive. Louisiana-Monroe is a good team. They have a lot of offense and a lot of speed. Their pitcher (Melanie Coyne) did a great job. It was a good game, lots of variable and lots of drama," said Montgomery.
Coyne allowed four hits and struck out four in 10 innings of work.
ULM, 3-1, couldn't break through against Chambers-Book until the 10th inning, scoring on an RBI double by Ana Hogan.
The Warhawks were thrown out trying to advance a runner on a fly ball in both the eighth and the ninth innings. In the eighth inning, left fielder Connor Cutright threw out a runner trying to advance to third. In the ninth inning, Reagan Curtis picked up an outfield assist on a perfect throw home to complete a double play.
"We made some great plays late," Montgomery said.
"It's huge. We work on that in practice," said Chambers-Book. "They strive to have those perfect throws. That's why we do it to make those plays in a game."
The Cougars broke a scoreless tie in the top of the 10th inning. Using the international tiebreaker rule, Tess Eby started the inning on second base. Haley Adrian executed a bunt sacrifice that moved Eby over to third. Allison Smiley singled Eby home with a hit to left field. After a double by Kalei Kaneshiro that made it runners second and third, Sarah Lopesilvero provided the eventual game-winner with a single through the left side that drove home Smiley.
Earlier in the day, Emily Ingles recorded her first career victory with a 4-1 victory over Prairie View A&M. The Cougar freshman fanned nine and allowed just four hits.
Smiley made it 3-0 in the sixth with a two-RBI single that drove home Curtis and Jane Smith. Eby added extra cushion in the top of the seventh inning with an RBI single that scored Schafer.
SIUE closes out the Mardi Grass Classic Sunday with a 10 a.m. start against Sam Houston State.