Haley Chambers hit a three-run homer and collected her 21st victory of the season as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville softball team defeated UT Martin 5-3 on Saturday in a rain-shortened game at Cougar Field in Edwardsville.
Steady rain pelted the two Ohio Valley Conference teams, causing a pair of stoppages to improve the footing in the pitcher's circle. With the Cougars leading going into the bottom of the sixth and rain continuing to come down, the umpires called it a completed game.
"It was challenging on many levels," said SIUE coachSandy Montgomery. "There was a lot of adversity and a lot of tension. That's how the last few weekends go."
The two teams postponed game two of the doubleheader Saturday and will play a noon doubleheader at Cougar Field on Sunday.
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SIUE improved to 17-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 36-11 overall. UT Martin dropped to 24-21 overall and 9-10 in the OVC.
Chambers is now 21-5 as a pitcher with a six-strikeout effort. Elizabeth Wiegand fell to 12-7 for the Skyhawks.
"It was a team effort to get the six innings in," said Chambers. "It was a battle."
"She really gutted it out," said Montgomery of Chambers' effort. "I was really proud of her poise and composure. She was having a really nice game until the rains came."
UT Martin grabbed the early lead when catcher Renate Meckl singled home Kelsey Dixon in the top of the second inning.
The Cougars tied it up in the bottom half of the inning. Tess Eby singled home Alex McDavid.
The Skyhawks avoided what could have been a big third inning for the Cougars. SIUE loaded the bases beginning with a Haley Adrian walk and back-to-back bunt singles by Chambers and Rebecca Gray. The Cougars would score one run in the inning, a sacrifice fly by Rachel Keller.
SIUE took advantage of a pair of infield errors in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Adrian reached first on a fielding error and Alex McDavid advanced to third on a throwing error. Chambers then turned on a pitch that hit the berm in right field, a few feet inside the right field foul pole. It was Chambers' team-leading eighth home run of the season.
"I went up to bat knowing we had to get those two runs in," said Chambers.
"She got all of it," said Montgomery. "It was a first pitch down and in."
UT Martin clawed for two more runs, a Renate home run in the fifth and an RBi single by Alicia Hansen in the sixth.