WOODSTOCK, Ga. – SIUE softball swept a pair of games at the KSU Classic, picking up wins over Liberty and Mercer.
Like Saturday, both games were decided by a single run. This time, it was the Cougars' turn for the victories. SIUE downed Liberty 4-3 and Mercer 8-7.
"You keep battling and luckily we were able to get clutch hits when we needed it," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.
SIUE improved its overall record to 4-3 and next travels to Memphis, Tenn., for the Blues City Classic Feb. 22-24. The Cougars play Kansas City in an 11 a.m. game Friday and follow that with Wright State and Detroit Saturday as well as Mississippi State Sunday.
Liberty moved ahead with two runs in the second and a single tally in the third to take a 3-1 lead. The Cougars chipped away at the lead, including a solo homer by Yankolovich in the fifth to tie the score 3-3.
"That was a big pick-me-up for the team," Montgomery said.
Yankolovich said the team was confident it could come back.
"I think it helped that we could tie the game up earlier than the sixth inning and be ready to win the game," Yankolovich said.
In SIUE's second game of the day, the Cougars doubled their offensive output. SIUE also finished game two with a season-high 14 hits.
Sophomore Brittany Toney would have the busiest bat of the day, going 6 for 7 with two runs batted in. She had three hits in both games.
"She hit the ball well today. She seemed to be locked in and sprayed the ball around. She hit to all fields today," said Montgomery.
Toney said that after losing a pair of games Saturday the team was looking to get its wins for the weekend.
"We were hyped up and pumped up for today's games. It was just easy when your pitchers have already done so much, you want to give some extra cushion," said Toney.
SIUE got off to a flying start against Mercer with four runs in the first inning. CC Hutchinson belted her team-leading third home run of the season in the first inning.
"The more at bats she gets the better she is going to get," Montgomery said of the freshman.
The Cougars would hold a 5-0 lead headed to the third inning when Mercer's offense struck. The Bears rallied for two runs in the third and five more in the fourth. Mercer picked up three home runs along the way, including a grand slam by Kaytlin Haney.
SIUE's offense bounced back with three runs in the top of the fifth. Rachel Coonrod ripped a two-run, pinch-hit double to tie the score 7-7. Jill Rackers would go into run for Coonrod and later scored on an infield error off the bat of Yankolovich.
Erin Greenwalt was SIUE's victorious pitcher. Her first win as a Cougar was 3 1/3 innings of relief work. She struck out three, allowed two hits, and yielded no runs.