Softball put up a fight in its second game against first-in-conference Southeast Missouri State University to win 4-3 after dropping the first game of the series 14-1.
Interim Head Coach Jessica Jones said the team changed their outlook to be able to push the results of the second game in their favor.
“They finally put themselves in an opportunity to win a ball game, and they competed. Turning everything we talked about into fruition really made a difference [in the second game],” Jones said.
SIUE gained three runs on SEMO throughout the first five innings in the second game. Junior third baseman Abby Marlow walked with the bases loaded to earn the team’s first run, and senior outfielder Alyssa Heren crossed home to add the Cougars’ second and third runs.
“I think [the second game] opened people’s eyes to new positions and new places in the order. I haven’t hit first all year, but I hit first today and did pretty well,” Heren said.
The Redhawks managed three runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie up the game, but junior outfielder Reagan Curtis scored on a wild pitch to earn the Cougars a fourth run in the bottom of the sixth.
SIUE’s defense held strong in the seventh inning against SEMO, who, despite two more hits, was unable to take the win.
Sophomore pitcher Corrina Rivas, who is now 5-7, said her performance was all about making sure her team succeeded.
“I was wanting to get my team a win. I was wanting to get my team in a good place. It was about me being selfless, and I wanted to do it for my team,” Rivas said.
The win was sweeter for the Cougars after the 14-1 loss taken by the Cougars earlier in the day. The team struggled slightly through the first six innings, but their pace dropped in the top of the seventh when SEMO earned nine runs in one inning.
The score was 5-1 in favor of the Redhawks when SEMO’s junior infielder Ashley Ellis hit a home run with two bases loaded. Sophomore pitcher Bianca Vozenilek walked another Redhawk with the bases loaded to gain another run. Rivas switched in to pitch but did not turn the tides in the Cougars’ favor.
Redhawks sophomore infielder Kaylee Anderson singled and an error allowed three of her teammates to earn runs. Finally, SEMO senior outfielder Mykaela Arellanes hit a second home run, and she and another teammate scored.
SEMO’s senior pitcher Haley Thogmartin, who is now 12-3, said between games she felt good about the win due to the rivalry between the two schools.
“[I’m feeling] pretty good because this is a rivalry school, so it’s huge, and they beat us in [the 2018 OVC Tournament], so we just wanted to jump on them fast. It was a big thing for us,” Thogmartin said.
Jones commented on the team’s struggle during the first game.
“It was just that competing process — executing pitches, competing, giving ourselves that opportunity. We didn’t do that offensively, and we didn’t do that defensively,” Jones said. “We talked about it again, and we had some hard conversations, and I asked them to be who they are and show passion. And they did. They competed, they were a team and finally, we turned our corner. That second game — that was SIUE softball.”
The Cougars took home six hits in the first game and seven in the second game, while SEMO earned 12 and 11, respectively.
Softball’s went on the road to Eastern Illinois University, where they played a doubleheader against Panthers for 10-3, 13-0 wins. After the doubleheader, SEMO dropped from first to third place in the OVC while SIUE is now eighth. SIUE is now 4-4 in conference and 12-16 overall.
The team plays again at Eastern Kentucky University for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Friday, April 12, in Richmond, Kentucky. They then move on to Morehead State for another starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 14, in Morehead, Kentucky.