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Cougars Fall to Illini 5-2

Tess Eby
Tess Eby

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – SIUE softball did not leave pleased after Wednesday's 5-2 nonconference loss at Illinois.

"We were timid," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "We did not compete. I'm very disappointed in our performance. That's not who we are."

The Cougars, 32-8, left runners on base in every inning except the first. SIUE left a total of eight runners on base.

"That was a winnable game," Montgomery said.

Taylor Edwards was the winning pitcher after throwing the first four innings and is now 12-1. Illinois used four pitchers for the game, and Breanna Wonderly tossed the seventh to earn a save. Illinois, which is receiving votes in the national polls, upped its record to 28-10.

Haley Chambers-Book took the loss for SIUE and now stands at 19-5. She struck out three.

"Haley threw well," said Montgomery. "She threw well enough to win. We didn't do much to back her up."

SIUE's Tess Eby put the Cougars up early with a solo home run to lead off the third inning. After fouling off a 3-2 pitch, the Cougar junior took the next pitch over the left field fence to put SIUE up 1-0.

"She smoked it over the left field fence, no question," said Montgomery.

"I've been seeing the ball well," said Eby. "We got a chance to hit on the field before the game, and I was smacking the ball so I had a lot of confidence."

The Illini evened up the score in the bottom of the third. With runners on first and third, Leigh Farina scored on a double steal.

Illinois then used a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Veronica Ruelius, to push ahead. SIUE's defense also committed two errors, causing two of the four runs to be unearned.

The Cougars added one more run in the sixth. Allison Smiley reached on an infield single. After Talisa Morton pinch ran for her, Kalei Kaneshiro doubled down the left field line. Morton then scored on a sacrifice fly by Sarah Lopesilvero.

SIUE and Illinois each had six hits.

SIUE returns home to Cougar Field for a Friday doubleheader against Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri. The first pitch is 1 p.m.

"Losses always leave a bad taste in your mouth so we'll be ready to go Friday," added Montgomery.

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