By Bob Flynn
Register staff report
The Colonels (17-10, 4-1 OVC) softball team split a pair of conference games with visiting SIU-Edwardsville (17-8, 2-2 OVC) Friday at Gertrude Hood Field.
EKU dropped game one 4-1 — snapping a six-game winning streak — but bounced back to take the second game, 11-3, behind pitching ace, Leanna Pittsenbarger.
The first game was a pitching duel through the first three innings between SIUE’s Haley Chambers and EKU’s Shaylon Robb with neither team able to mount any offense.
SIUE finally broke through against Robb in the fourth inning.
Robb hit Kayla Riggs, then Brittany Toney followed with a line-drive single to center field.
Robb struck out Jordan LaFave, one of four on the day, but Samantha Stanicek hit the first pitch she saw over the right-center field fence for a three run homer to put SIUE up 3-0.
Robb got Rebecca Gray on a fly ball to left to end the inning.
SIUE picked up its fourth run in the fifth inning when Alex McDavid lined a two-out home run over the right field fence.
Meanwhile, Chambers was masterful, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
Senior Raquel Howes finally broke up the no-hit bid with a long, one-out home run to right field, but the Colonels only managed one more hit the rest of the way.
Robb, (5-5) went seven innings, giving up six hits and three walks, while striking out four.
In the second game, SIU-Edwardsville jumped out to a quick lead with two runs in the first inning.
But the Colonels came right back with a run of their own in bottom half of the inning when Howes drilled a lead-off homer to cut the deficit to 2-1.
EKU grabbed its first lead of the day by producing three runs in the third. Sophomore Katie Tackett and freshman Kayla Hobbs each chipped in with RBI hits during the rally.
After adding two unearned runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth, Christina Ciolek ended the game in emphatic fashion with a sixth-inning grand slam to left field. The first baseman finished with a team season-high five RBIs.
Pittsenbarger went the distance for the Colonels, going six innings, giving two earned runs on five hits, striking out 12 Cougar batters and allowing two walks.
The 12 strikeouts marked the fourth time this season that Pittsenbarger has recorded double-figure strikeouts in a game.
The Colonels are back in action today at 1 p.m. when Eastern Illinois comes to town for a pair of conference games.