RICHMOND, Ky. – SIUE softball needed an extra inning to get it done, but the Cougars gained a sweep Saturday at Eastern Kentucky.
SIUE improved to 30-7 this season and 6-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference with the victories. The Cougars, one of just 17 teams in Division I with 30 or more wins, won the opener 11-0 and the nightcap 7-5 in eight innings. Eastern Kentucky dropped to 14-21 overall and 3-4 in the OVC while playing its first game in the newly renovated Gertrude Hood Field.
Haley Chambers-Book was the winning pitcher in both games and improved to 18-4 overall. She tossed a two-hit shutout in game one. In the nightcap, she tossed the final two innings for the Cougars.
"She threw well. I feel like she had good command in game one and made quality pitches all day long," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.
SIUE's offense was jump-started in the third inning of game one. Alyssa Heren reached on an infield error, Chambers-Book drew a walk. Zoe Schafer provided the offensive punch with a three-run homer to left field.
"The whole team fed off of it, and it really clicked," said Schafer.
"We sat on that three-run lead a bit and then we just started swinging it. Everybody was hitting," said Montgomery.
The Cougars added two more runs in the sixth inning on RBI hits from Tess Eby and Heren.
The seventh inning proved to be the big one. The six-run rally featured a two-run double by Sarah Lopesilvero and a three-run homer by Eby.
"We swung the bats and came up huge in few spots," said Montgomery.
Chambers-Book struck out 13 in the win and threw her seventh shutout of the season.
The two teams went back and forth in game two. SIUE scored first when Allison Smiley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning.
Hannah Clark hit a two-run double in the first inning for the Colonels and added a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
SIUE was down 5-4 in the top of the seventh when Schafer connected on her second home run of the day, a solo shot down the left field line.
"Her home run was huge. It kept us alive," said Montgomery.
The Cougars tallied two runs in the top of the eighth. Eby scored on a wild pitch off EKU's Mollie Paulick on ball four to Reagan Curtis. Smiley added an infield hit that scored Heren.
"We battled and the kids grinded it out," Montgomery said.
SIUE's OVC road trip continues Sunday with an 11 a.m. CT doubleheader at Morehead State.