For Immediate Release
March 19, 2009
Unzicker's 1st career hit completes comeback, EC wins 1st game in 8
Eureka College scored three runs in the seventh inning to force extra innings, then earned the first victory of the season with a run in the top of the eighth, defeating Monmouth College 5-4 in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday. The Red Devils fell to the Fighting Scots in the opener 2-0.
Eureka (1-9) appeared to be short on time going into the final stanza trailing Monmouth (4-5) 4-1, but Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./HS) singled to lead off the inning, then the tying runners reached base by way of a hit by pitch and the first of two Monmouth errors in the inning. With runners on second and third, it was the perfect time for first-year catcher Ashley Unzicker (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley) to pick up her first hit as a Red Devil, and she did just that with a two-run single to left that tied the game at 4-4.
Cathy Kalnicky (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield), who pitched all eight innings in her first start of the season for EC without allowing a walk, held the Scots in check in the bottom of the seventh thanks in part to a double play turned by Nicole Ropp (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) at second base.
Ropp then came to the plate in the eighth with the go-ahead run standing on third base with one out, and lifted the Red Devils on top for the second time on the day with an RBI ground out.
In softball tie-breaker rules, a runner is placed on second base at the start of each extra inning, but even with the bonus runner, Kalnicky turned away Monmouth in the bottom of the eighth. After a ground out moved the potential tying run to third with one out, the last two hitters popped out to first and lined out to center to end the game. Kalnicky allowed four runs, all in the second inning, on eight hits. The win snapped Eureka's 12-game losing streak dating back to last season.
Kalnicky helped her own cause in the first inning as she delivered a one-out RBI single that brought in Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./HS), who had singled and stolen second to start the contest, with the game's first tally. The Red Devils were held hitless over the next five innings, before erupting for their three-run rally in the seventh.
Doty finished with a pair if hits in the game, while Erika Thomas (East Peoria, Ill./HS) went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
In the first game, Monmouth's Sarah Christensen (five innings) and Ashley Tocha (two innings) combined on the school's third ever no hitter. The Red Devils did get four runners on base, including two in the first inning, but could not get on the scoreboard.
The Red Devils received a stellar pitching performance as well. Kelsey Brandt (Morton, Ill./HS) pitched around three errors in the field, allowing just three hits and two runs over six innings. She struck out three and walked only one. Combined in the two games, EC pitchers issued just one base on balls over 14 innings.
Eureka will take on Rockford College at 1:00 pm, Saturday, March 21 in what will be the final home doubleheader of the month of March for EC.
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