EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Emily Ingles provided a masterful pitching performance Sunday for the SIUE softball team.
The freshman right-hander spun a one-hitter and struck out 14 as the Cougars defeated Northern Kentucky, 8-0, in a six-inning game of the SIUE Tournament. The Cougars improved to 21-5 and won for the 10th time in their last 11 games. Northern Kentucky fell to 5-14.
"It's definitely at the top of games I've pitched this season," said Ingles, who carried a perfect game into the final inning. "I had a lot of poise."
The Scottsdale, Arizona, native had plenty of everything, including explosive and efficient pitches. Just ask SIUE Head coach Sandy Montgomery.
"She had good focus and the best command of her pitches so far this season. That's important at this level," Montgomery said. "She is a competitor and wants to have the ball all the time. I'm proud of her and what she did."
Ingles, improving to 7-1 and lowering her ERA to 1.59 in pitching her third shutout of the season, struck out the first nine Northern Kentucky hitters. The Norse didn't hit a fair ball until the fourth, and the first one was a ground ball back to Ingles. Their next fair ball came on a bunt in the fifth that Ingles turned into an inning-ending play.
Taylor Brummell's leadoff double to left field in the sixth was Northern Kentucky's only hit. Ingles threw 95 pitches in her complete game.
"I was so excited pitching for the first time at home," said Ingles, who had a combined no-hitter with Ashley Koziol on March 8 against La Salle in Clearwater, Florida.
She added, "I can see that I'm making progress. I had my rise ball working really well, and all of my pitches were moving. I kept them off-balance."
SIUE's attack was equally progressive. The Cougars used a five-run fifth to build a 6-0 lead and added two runs in the sixth to close out the win. Overall, Haley Chambers-Book, Tess Eby, Allison Smiley and Sarah Lopesilvero collected two hits apiece to pace the 11-hit offense. Eby was elevated to the No. 4 spot in the batting order after getting two hits Saturday against Ball State.
"Tess is a competitor, and she is doing a good job," Montgomery said. "We have a good offensive team, and we can swing the bats. Haley started things for us with a hit in that fifth inning and then we put our hits together.
"We did what we needed to do."
Eby, Smiley, Kalei Kaneshiro and Reagan Curtis all supplied RBI singles in that fifth when the Cougars strung together six hits. Zoe Schafer contributed a double following Chambers-Book's leadoff single.
Lopesilvero's double and a Northern Kentucky error enabled the Cougars to grab a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Following SIUE's big fifth, the Cougars made it 7-0 on Northern Kentucky's fourth error, and Smiley added a run-scoring single to put the finishing touch on the victory.
The Cougars are idle until Wednesday when Kansas comes calling at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
"We haven't seen them for a couple of seasons," Montgomery said of the Jayhawks. "They are a Big 12 team, so they will be big and strong."