OXFORD, Ala. – SIUE softball erased a four-run, first-inning deficit to capture a 5-4 victory over Southeast Missouri in the opening round of the Ohio Valley Conference Championships at Choccolocco Park.
Pinch-hitter Jill Niehaus walked on four pitches with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning to provide the game-winning RBI. Pinch-runner Talisa Morton stepped across home plate for the eventual game-winner.
SIUE, 25-19, advances to play top-seeded Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m. Thursday. EKU defeated Morehead State 2-1.
"We didn't get off to a great start obviously," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.
Rivas struck out eight and yielded just two hits for her seventh victory of the season.
"Honestly, it was nerve-wracking," said Rivas of coming into the game in the first inning. "They asked me if I was ready, and I felt like I was ready. I went in and knew the team had my back."
"Corrina came in and did a nice job," said Montgomery. "She got out of a lot of jams, and it was a huge pitch to end the game."
Rivas struck out SEMO's Ashley Ellis looking to end the game.
Southeast Missouri used four pitchers against the Cougars. Madeline Krumrey started for SEMO and lasted 3 1/3 innings. Krumrey gave up a two-run home run in the second inning to SIUE freshman shortstop Alana Cobb-Adams.
"It was a full count so I just looking for something that was hittable or close to being a strike," said Cobb-Adams."
Montgomery described Cobb-Adams' second home run of the season as "awesome."
"We've been working on Alana's hands for a month continuing to try to get her to catch the ball out in front," said Montgomery. "She's a very smart kid when it comes to adjustments in hitting. I'm just happy for her. That was a big moment for her. It certainly got us into the ball game."
After a pitching change, Zoe Schafer doubled down the left field line to drive home Heren. After Reagan Curtis was hit by a pitch, Connor Cutright picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Concatto.
SEMO's third pitcher Rachel Rook was credited with the loss. She dropped to 5-5.
"You name it. It happened in this game," said Montgomery. "We talk to the kids about being resilient in tournaments, and they did a really nice job of that."