JACKONSVILLE, Ala. – SIUE and Jacksonville State came down to the last batter in both games of a softball doubleheader Saturday, but the Cougars came up on the short end in both contests.
SIUE dropped the opener 7-5 in eight innings and the nightcap 2-1 at University Field.
"We didn't play a clean game," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "We had too many mental mistakes and too many errors. You can't win against a good team no matter who you are playing when you do that."
The Cougars fall to 35-10 overall and 10-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Jacksonville State improved to 34-9 overall and 13-1 in the OVC.
SIUE now have a quick turn-around and heads to Cookeville, Tennessee, for a noon doubleheader Sunday against the Golden Eagles. Tennessee Tech went idle Saturday as its doubleheader against Eastern Illinois was rescheduled for Monday due to rain.
SIUE made a strong effort in the top of the seventh but were held off on a diving play by JSU centerfielder Emily Woodruff. After a pinch-hit single by Maria Prete, she was replaced by Jane Smith at first base. Tess Eby then stepped to the plate, bidding to further extend the game off JSU starter Taylor West.
"Tess hit a ball to the gap," said Montgomery. "The kid made a diving play on it. She threw us out at first. It was a great play. You have to give her props for it. Tess is a warrior. She was battling. She put a good swing on it. It just didn't fall."
JSU went to its bullpen for Whitney Gillespie, the game one winner. Gillespie received her second save of the season by getting the final out of the game.
The Gamecocks tied the game in the fourth on a pair of unearned runs off SIUE starter Chambers-Book, now 22-6. Alexus Jimmerson put JSU up 3-2 in the fifth on a solo home run.
SIUE tied the score in the next half inning taking advantage of an infield error, culminating with a RBI ground out by shortstop Sarah Lopesilvero.
The two teams went extra innings with JSU winning the game in the bottom of the eight on a home run by Woodruff.
The Cougars will look to regroup as they head to Cookeville.
"We need to pull together and get these two wins tomorrow," said SIUE catcher Amy Hunt.