EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE ripped a pair of game-winning home runs and pitcher Emily Ingles collected two wins in a softball doubleheader sweep over Jacksonville State at Cougar Field.
The Cougars won game one 5-4 and took game two 3-1.
SIUE improved to 4-0 in OVC play for the week, including three walk-off winners and a come-from-behind victory. SIUE is now 19-14 overall and 9-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference and play two more games tomorrow against Tennessee Tech. Start time is 1 p.m.
"Tennessee Tech is a gritty, gritty team," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "Any time you have two big wins and you're coming back the next day, there's always a little letdown so we have to make sure that we are prepared and intense and playing at a level that we can get the job done."
Jacksonville State, which dropped out of first place after the sweep in the OVC standings at 11-3 in league play and 23-19 overall, scored all four of its game one runs in the second inning.
The Cougars had struck first on a solo home run in the first inning by Zoe Schafer. Curtis would make it 4-2 in the second inning with a blast to left center.
Corrina Rivas started for the Cougars and kept Jacksonville State's bats quiet after the second inning. Rivas came out of the game in the seventh after striking out seven JSU batters. Emily Ingles fanned two batters in relief to keep the Gamecocks at bay.
Curtis led off the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch off Jacksonville State reliever Alexus Jimmerson. However, the home plate umpire called her back to batter's box, noting she did not sufficiently try to avoid the pitch.
On the next pitch, Curtis sent the ball sailing to center field and over the fence.
"The walkoff was such a great feeling," said Curtis. "It's funny because Alyssa (Heren) was telling me in the outfield that 'You're up next when we get to bat, and I know you're going to get a hit for us.'"
"The walkoff was unbelieveable," said Montgomery. "She's been working real hard on her swing, and it paid off really well today."
After a third straight 5-4 walkoff win in OVC play, the Cougars sent Ingles back to the circle for game two.
The sophomore right-hander would strike out 15 Jacksonville State batters and yield just one hit through the first six innings. Her 15 strikeouts was a season high and one shy of her career best set last season against Tennessee State.
"She threw great," said Montgomery. "That could have been the best she has thrown this year."
"Emily threw a great game," said Heren.
"And we had he back throughout the game," added Curtis.
The Gamecocks only hit through the first six innings was an RBI double by Caitlyn Sapp in the second inning.
SIUE's offense didn't get moving until the fifth when Bailley Concatto doubled to left, her second double of the game.
Alyssa Heren pulled the ball right center with Concatto on base for her fourth home run of the season, giving SIUE a 2-1 lead off JSU pitcher Nicole Rodriguez.
"When you come up to the plate in that situation, you're just looking for something to hit," said Heren.
SIUE added a key insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Kalei Kaneshiro singled to left, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sydney Bina. Cobb-Adams then connected on a 2-2 pitch to center field, driving home Kaneshiro.