Softball starts season with tournament victory

Junior pitcher Haley Chambers leaps toward home plate before she throws a pitch in a game during the 2014 season.

The defending Ohio Valley Conference champion SIUE softball team began its 2015 campaign with a 4-1 weekend at the Lady Techster Invitational, a record good enough for the tournament crown.

In the first game of the season, junior pitcher Haley Chambers gave up two hits during her five innings of shutout softball in an 8-0 win against Abilene Christian University. Chambers struck out seven and was relieved in the sixth and final inning of the game by freshman pitcher Baylee Douglass, who had a scoreless final inning.

At the plate, the Cougars were powered by sophomore second baseman Allison Smiley, who went 2-for-4, with two doubles and five runs batted in.

In the final game on Friday, Feb. 6, the Cougars defeated Louisiana Tech University in a close 6-4 game that saw both teams putting up big numbers in back-to-back innings.

After giving up four runs in the bottom of the third, the Cougars scored five runs of their own to take the lead. SIUE was helped by a three-run home run from Chambers to give the Cougars the lead.

Sophomore pitcher Alexis Kohrs got her first victory of the season, going four innings and giving up four earned runs. Douglass came in for the three-inning save and gave up one hit and no runs.

On Sunday, Feb. 8, after a 3-1 victory to top Missouri State University and a 4-3 to the University of Louisiana in Monroe, the Cougars capped off the tournament with an 11-1 bashing against the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff.

Chambers put together another impressive performance, both on the mound and at the plate. Pitching the full five innings, she struck out seven, while allowing one earned run for her third victory of the tournament. To help out the offense, Chambers hit her second home run of the year and had three RBIs.

The softball team returns to the field at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, when it travels to Athens, Ga. to compete at the Georgia Tournament.

Wrestling leaves Greyhound Open with two champions

Winning five matches a piece on Saturday, Feb. 7, sophomore Karsten Van Velsor and redshirt junior Chris Johnson finished in first place in their respective weight classes at the Greyhound Open held in Indianapolis, Ind.

At 149 pounds, Van Velsor started the day with a bye, then dominated his first opponent 18-6 in a major decision against his Indiana Tech University foe. In his quarterfinal match, Van Velsor got a 4-2 victory to move on to the semifinals, where he defeated his opponent 9-3. In the championship match, Van Velsor had his closest bout of the tournament, but was successful, winning 2-1 to take home the 149-weight class crown.

In the heavyweight division, Johnson won his first match of the day via pinfall and followed up with a sudden death victory against his opponent from Purdue University 3-1. Johnson got a 5-2 victory in the semifinals and was handed the heavyweight championship after teammate freshman Jake McKiernan forfeited in the final.

McKiernan, who dominated his competition with two major decisions and two pinfalls, was one of four Cougars to finish in second place. At 141 pounds, redshirt freshman Trevor Feagans lost in the championship match via pinfall. Junior Connor McMahon was close to winning the 165-pound title, but lost 5-4 to his McKendree University opponent in the final. Redshirt sophomore Jake Tindle fell to the same fate in his match at 197 pounds, losing to his foe from McKendree University 2-1 in the final.

The Cougars’ next match is at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Vadalabene Center where they take on Gardner-Webb University and the University of Indiana in a triangular meet.

Men’s basketball slips at the University of Tennessee in Martin

Shooting 35.8 percent from the field, the SIUE men’s basketball team fell to the University of Tennessee at Martin 64-59, moving the team to 5-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Senior guard Kris Davis led all scorers with 18 points, going 6-13 from the field, including a 3-8 performance from three-point range.

Senior guard Rozell Nunn was the only other SIUE player to finish the game in double-digits, ending with 12 points. Nunn also grabbed six rebounds.

The Cougars struggled defensively down low, allowing UT Martin to score 30 of its 64 points in the paint and won the battle for rebounds, bringing down 35.

The Cougars’ next game is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, when they travel to Murray, Ky. to take on OVC-leader Murray State University. The team returns home at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, when it faces Eastern Illinois University.

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