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SIUE softball rallies past Sam Houston State

MONROE, La. – SIUE closed out the Mardi Gras Classic with an eight-run seventh inning Sunday, collecting an 11-5 victory over Sam Houston State.

The Cougars finished the tournament 5-0 and outscored its opposition 31-10 for the weekend.

"Our goal was to come down here and go 5-0," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery. "I knew it was going to be a stretch. Louisiana-Monroe is a really good team. They're going to do some damage in their conference."

The Cougars opened the scoring in the first inning when Allison Smiley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The Bearkats, 2-3, peppered the Cougars with two runs in the second, a single tally in the fourth and a two-run homer by Megan Crosby in the sixth.

SIUE stranded nine runners and didn't feel like Sunday's game was going their way mentally.

"We just didn't get the job done," said Montgomery. "We finally got a leadoff hit and things started to go."

Zoe Schafer started the seventh-inning rally with a single to center field followed by a single from Reagan Curtis and a game-tying, two-run double by Allison Smiley.

"She (Smiley) has really turned her swing around," said Montgomery. "She's one the most game-savvy players we have on the team. She is swinging the bat well right now. It's attributable to her hard work and love of the game. She plays the game the way it should be played."

Sam Houston State sent five pitchers to the circle in the game, including four in the seventh alone.

The Cougars kept finding way to extend the game, including a two-run double by Haley Chambers-Book on her second plate appearance of the inning. Chambers-Book, who entered the game on defense as the pitcher in the sixth inning, was the winning hurler and extended her record to 3-0.

"She turned it up and got a big hit too in the seventh. I was pleased with how we played," added Montgomery.

SIUE sent 13 batters to the plate in the seventh inning.

After battling through 10 innings the night before in a win over host Louisiana-Monroe, a come-from-behind victory helped the Cougars leave on a high note.

"I really like our resiliency and that we played a full game," added Montgomery.

SIUE next heads to Auburn, Alabama, for the Auburn Tournament. The Cougars first play a single game at Auburn Thursday at 6 p.m. The tournament (Feb. 17-19) includes one game with Auburn, one game with Evansville and two games against Mercer.

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