For Immediate Release
April 16, 2009
Jill (6 Hits) helps EC climb hill, sweep blackburn with 2-Out rally in 7th
Eureka College was down to its final out, but scored three times in the seventh inning to pull out a 4-2 victory from the jaws of defeat Thursday afternoon and complete a SLAIC doubleheader sweep of visiting Blackburn College. The Red Devils somehow overcame an amazing 22 runners left on base in 13 innings on the day to end a five-game losing streak to Blackburn and extend their current winning streak to four games. Eureka had not recorded more than eight hits in any of their previous 24 ball games, but collected nine hits in a 6-2 win in the opener and 10 more in the comeback win in the nightcap.
Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./HS) was the toughest out on either team on the day. The Eureka (9-17, 3-5 SLIAC) junior set a career-high with three hits in game one, then matched it by going 3-for-4 again in game two. She also handled all eight chances she had at third base defensively, including a double play, helping the EC defense play errorless ball in game one and commit just two errors on the day. Blackburn (2-20, 0-6 SLIAC), by contrast, committed eight errors in the two contests.
Doty was not the only Red Devil with three hits in game one. Cathy Kalnicky (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield) went 3-for-3 with a run scored, three RBIs and a sacrifice fly. She recorded the first run batted in on the day in the bottom of the first, knocking in Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./HS) with a single to left field. Doty followed with a base hit to left that led to Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham) crossing the dish on an error. Kalnicky put EC ahead 3-0 after she came home on a wild pitch.
Eureka extended to a 4-0 lead in the second when Kalnicky lifted a fly ball to deep center that allowed Alig to trot home from third. The key play of the frame was a double steal by Alig and Scammahorn during Kalnicky's at bat.
Blackburn tallied two runs in the third on a two-out, two-run double hit by Emily Denny. That would be all Blackburn would get against Eureka pitcher Kelsey Brandt (Morton, Ill./HS), though. In fact, the hit by Denny that seemed to briefly bring new life to the slow starting Blackburn ball club, actually only served as a wake up call for Brandt, who retired the next 11 hitters she faced. She shut Blackburn out over the final four innings on only two hits.
Eureka went ahead 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth an another sacrifice fly, this time off the bat of Tomi Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./HS). Then in the fifth, Kalnicky knocked in Alig for the third time in the game with a double to the fence to set the final count at 6-2. It was the second time in three contests that Alig scored three runs in a game.
The Red Devils had a slew of base runners as they drew seven walks off Blackburn pitcher Sarah Johnson in addition to nine hits. All nine Red Devils in the starting lineup reached base safely at least once. Eureka stranded at least one runner on base in every inning, resulting in 12 left on for the game. Blackburn stranded four.
Brandt won her third consecutive game to improve to 6-7 on the year. She struck out three and allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks in seven innings. She has now tossed 28 innings since issuing her last base on bases.
The chances for a Eureka sweep looked bleak until a late three-run rally in the last inning led to a 4-2 triumph in the nightcap.
Back-to-back singles to begin the fourth and three consecutive wild pitches handed Blackburn a 2-1 lead. The Beavers held that lead until twos outs into the seventh inning.
Scammahorn beat out an infield hit to get the tying run on base, but she was still on first with two outs. A wild pitch advanced her to second, then she surprised the defense by stealing third on the throw back to the pitcher. That play seemed to light a spark under the EC attack as the Red Devils reeled off four hits in succession. Nicole Ropp (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) came through with the biggest hit of the game - a line drive to center that brought in Scammahorn with the tying run. Doty, Tapper and Ashley Unzicker (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley) all followed with singles to left field, with the latter two picking up RBIs. Eureka ended up with three runs, five hits, and a 4-2 lead when the dust settled in the top of the seventh.
Abby Segal (Peoria, Ill./Limestone), who retired eight of the last nine hitters she faced, set down Blackburn 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win for Eureka. She tied her career-high with 10 strikeouts, while allowing just five hits and two runs in seven innings.
Scammahorn and Unzicker each recorded their first multi-hit games of their respective EC careers. Scammahorn was 2-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases. Unzicker was 2-for-4 with an RBI. All three of Doty's hits came with runners on base. She also had two hits with runners on in the first game. The Red Devils out-hit Blackburn 10-5. It was the first time since April 23, 2008 that EC reached double figures in hits.
The Red Devils are still fighting an uphill battle in the league standings, but they will get their chance to make a move Saturday, April 18 when they host Webster University in a doubleheader starting at 1:00 pm. The Gorloks are currently in third place in the conference standings, while Eureka is in sixth.
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