For Immediate Release
April 9, 2009
Kalnicky, Alig power Eureka, Brandt to 2 wins over Knox
The Red Devils recorded their first sweep of a softball doubleheader for the 2009 season Thursday, defeating Knox College 7-5 and 2-1. The first game went into extra innings, with Eureka improving to 2-0 in extra inning games by scoring two runs in the top of the eighth. Eureka then ran its record on the year in one-run decisions in 5-3 in the nightcap.
Cathy Kalnicky (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield) and Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./HS) carried the Red Devils' (7-17) attack. Kalnicky was 3-for-8 on the day with six runs batted in, while Alig was 2-for-7 with three runs and an RBI. Meanwhile, pitcher Kelsey Brandt (Morton, Ill./HS) picked up the win in both contests, tossing a total of 10.1 innings, allowing only five hits and no walks.
Alig drew a lead off walk and scored the first run of the day in the top of the first after a Kalnicky RBI ground out, but Eureka had to rally from a 5-1 deficit in game one after Knox (4-14) mounted a four-run attack in the fourth inning.
Just a half-inning after Prairie Fire pitcher Cory Bieber was handed a four-run cushion by her offense, she walked the first three Red Devils she faced in the fifth inning. Kalnicky made her pay a steep price as she cleaned the bases with a three-run double. Later in the frame, Nicole Ropp (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) lifted a fly ball to right to bring in Kalnicky for the tying run.
The game remained tied at 5-5 into extra innings, even though Eureka loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. Knox not only escaped that jam, but also the one in the sixth when EC had two runners on base with one out.
Knox put together its own threat in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back hits putting runners on second and third with no outs. But Brandt, who entered the game in relief in the fifth, induced three consecutive ground outs to send the game to extra frames.
In the eighth, both sides got to start with a runner on second base, but the Red Devils were the only team that capitalized. The clutch hit came off the bat of Alig with two outs. She hit a double to left field to bring in Allie Trainer (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central) from second, then raced the rest of the way around the bases after an error to give EC a 7-5 lead. The Red Devils had been 1-for-14 with runners on base in the game prior to Alig's game-winning hit.
The Prairie Fire went down in order in the home-half of the inning to end the game. Knox was just 3-for-20 with runners on base and left nine on base. Eureka stranded eight.
Both offenses were held in relative check in game two as Brianna Williams of Knox and Brandt for Eureka combined for eight hits and two earned runs allowed in complete game efforts. The first three frames were scoreless, with each squad collecting one single apiece.
Kalnicky lifted Eureka to a 1-0 lead with a lead off homer in the fourth. The Red Devils extended their advantage to 2-0 in the fifth thanks to another lead off hit, this time a double by Trainer. An error would later allow her to plate what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Brandt and the EC defense were nearly flawless through the first six innings. The Prairie Fire's only two base runners came on a one out single in the third and an error in the fifth. That did not stop things from getting more interesting than the Red Devils liked in the seventh. Two of Knox's three hits in the game came in its last at bat, and the tying run reached first base before the final out was recorded.
Both teams had even more trouble hitting with runners on base in the nightcap than they did in game one. Knox went hitless in five tries, while Eureka was an astounding 0-for-15 in game two and 2-for-30 (.067 BA) on the day. Still, the Red Devils' success in getting the lead off batter on base to begin seven of the 14 innings was the difference between two wins and two losses on the day.
Brandt gave up one run on three hits in seven innings, improving her record to 5-7 on the season. She struck out three and has now pitched 21 consecutive innings since her last walk.
Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham) reached base three times in game two on a single and two walks. Kalnicky's home run was her second of the season and ninth career, extending her school record. Ropp and Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./HS) also recorded hits as EC out-hit Knox 5-3. Eureka had gone nine games without out-hitting an opponent, posting a 3-6 record during that stretch.
The Red Devils will return home for a doubleheader against MacMurray College Monday, April 13 at 2:00 pm in a make-up of a rainout on March 31. Eureka turned back the Highlanders 2-1 on March 27.
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