April 9, 2011

Cougars Sweep Tennessee Tech

April 9, 2011

Game 1 Box Score |  Game 2 Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville softball used some late-inning heroics Saturday to sweep Tennessee Tech 2-0 and 4-3 at Cougar Field.

SIUE, 17-21 overall and 9-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference, will go for the series sweep Sunday when the two teams play a single game at 1 p.m.

SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery gave kudos to her whole pitching staff. Erika Taylor struck out 13 in her third shutout of the season. Ali Downing started game two and gave up three runs before being replaced in the fourth inning by eventual winner Lindsey Coleman, who did not allow a run as the Cougars scored all four of their runs in the final two innings.

"Getting a doubleheader sweep at home is huge for us," said Montgomery.

Taylor picked up double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season. She improved to 12-11 with the victory, allowed five hits, and did not yield a walk.

"She actually threw very well today - better than she has for while," said Montgomery. "She hasn't been as sharp as she needs to be. She had command of all of her pitches and her change-up which makes a difference."

The Cougars didn't score until the sixth inning of game one. Samantha Stanicek led off the inning with a hard-hit ball to left field. The ball bounced off the top of the fence but stayed in the field of play.

"That was a huge, clutch hit for her to get her to second base. And we got the job done after that," said Montgomery.

Chelsea Yankolovich then drew a one-out walk off Tennessee Tech starter Claudia Harke. The Golden Eagles would go to the bullpen for Whitney Cummings.

After Cummings gained a strikeout, Rachel Coonrod sent a single to right field that scored Stanicek. After a throwing error, Yankolovich would score a second run as she avoided a tag at home plate by slipping between Cummings' legs.

"We scratched along until we got something going," said Montgomery.

In the nightcap, Tennessee Tech, now 15-17 overall and 6-10 in the OVC, picked up an RBI single by Callie Schmidt and two-run double to the fence in left-center by starting pitcher Holly Thomas to take a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

The Cougar bats were quiet again until the sixth when the first five batters of the inning reached base. Whitney Davis would single home a run. Paige Sheeder drew a bases-loaded walk, and Yankolovich brought in a third run with a sacrifice fly.

Cummings would enter the game again in the sixth for the Golden Eagles and would find herself in a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. Davis drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch as pinch-runner Megan Murphy stepped on home plate to end the game.

"She (Davis) made some nice adjustments. A lot of our kids are coming up clutch late in the game which is good. I wish we would do the same in the early innings where we haven't turned up the intensity," said Montgomery.