The softball team took its seventh one-run loss Tuesday, March 22 against the University of Illinois at Chicago Dragons. The loss dropped SIUE to 8-13 for the year.

The game was scoreless through the first five innings, as sophomore pitcher Ashley Koziol battled against Dragons pitcher Elaine Heflin. UIC scored in the sixth inning off a dropped fly ball by junior outfielder Whitney Lanphier.

The Cougars battled back with three runs of their own, including an RBI by freshman Alyssa Heren and two-run double by sophomore catcher Tess Eby. UIC bounced back with two runs in the seventh, taking the win.

Head Coach Sandy Montgomery said the Cougars will learn from the loss and continue to get better.

“It’s going to make us better. It’s going to make us stronger. We’re going to keep plugging away until we can get it right,” Montgomery said.

On Friday, March 25, the Cougars took on Tennessee Technological University, scoring three runs in the ninth inning to defeat to defeat the Golden Eagles 5-2.

After losing 5-1 in the first game of the doubleheader, junior utility player Paige Clinton started the Cougars’ offense with a two-out bunt in the top of the ninth. After Clinton stole second, senior outfielder Jordan LaFave singled to center and brought Clinton home.

LaFave said she wanted to hit a fair ball and give her teammates a chance to build their lead.

“I knew I had to get something into the outfield to give us a chance. Really, I was just trying to put the ball in play,” LaFave said.

Heren followed it up with a two-run homer, tying the team record for the most homeruns.

Koziol picked up her fifth win of the season with a career-high 11 strikeouts. Koziol said she was trying to focus on her location rather than speed.

“I think what was different today was that I focused on what we’ve been working on in practice. I wasn’t focused on throwing the ball hard. My main focus was on hitting my spots,” Koziol said.

The Cougars traveled to Jacksonville, Ala., falling to the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks in a doubleheader Saturday, March 26.

SIUE dropped game one 4-2 and the nightcap 6-3. The Gamecocks improved to 7-0 in the OVC while the Cougars dropped to 3-4 in the OVC and 9-16 overall. SIUE left 17 runners on base over the doubleheader — a statistic Montgomery said the Cougars have to improve on.

“We have to hit better, and the pitchers have to do better against our opponents’ best hitters,” Montgomery said.

In game one, SIUE had to work from behind after giving up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Cougars never made a comeback, scoring a run in both the fourth and seventh innings.

In game two, Koziol threw three innings and gave up five runs on six hits.

Cougar offense started early with a double from Heren. Junior infielder Allison Smiley moved Heren to third with a bunt single and freshman utility player Savannah Fisher singled to bring in both Heren and Smiley.

The Cougars return home to play Southern Illinois University Carbondale Wednesday, March 30 and a three-game series against Southeast Missouri State University April 2-3 at Cougar Field.

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