For Immediate Release
Softball -- May 2, 2011
Eureka Softball Splits With Greenville in Season Finale
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team put together a seven-run outburst in the fourth inning to rally for a 7-4 win in the opener of Monday’s St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader against Greenville, but the Panthers were able to hold off the Red Devils’ late rally in game two and walked off with a 6-5 victory to salvage a doubleheader split in Eureka, Ill.
In game one, the visitors took advantage of a pair of Eureka (10-18, 7-9 SLIAC) errors to score two unearned runs for a 2-0 lead. The Eureka defense committed its third error of the game in the third inning, allowing Greenville (14-19, 8-8 SLIAC) to stretch the lead to 3-0 with another unearned run.
Facing the 3-0 deficit, Eureka exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning to take its first lead of the game. The Red Devils got on the board on an RBI single to center field from Lauren Kao (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) and eventually tied the game on a bases-loaded walk to junior shortstop Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.). With the score knotted at 3-3, junior second baseman Tomi Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) delivered the big blow of the frame with a three-run double into the right-center field gap, clearing the bases and pushing the Red Devils in front, 6-3. Freshman Haylee Bruce (Decatur, Ill./MacArthur H.S.), who was making her first career SLIAC start behind the plate, singled home Tapper two batters later before a fielder’s choice ended the inning.
The offense was enough for junior starting pitcher Sarah Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.), who scattered 12 hits over 7.0 innings and allowed only one earned run in her team-high 18th start of the season. The Panthers put at least two players on the basepaths in every inning, but Jesse was supported by a series of outstanding defensive plays to earn the victory. The Red Devils turned a pair of double plays during game, including a double play in the seventh inning that cut down a runner trying to score from third and kept the tying run in the on-deck circle.
Tapper and Alig had two hits apiece to lead the hosts in game one, while Tapper’s three RBI led all players. All nine Eureka starters collected at least one hit.
The Panthers scored an unearned run in the first inning of the nightcap before Eureka bounced back in the next inning. Kao pulled an RBI single through the hole on the left side to get the Red Devils on the board before Jesse smashed a double into the right-center field gap to score Kao for a 2-1 lead.
The Eureka lead was eventually 3-2 and held up until Greenville plated three runs in the fourth inning. Rachel Brewer’s RBI single gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead, and Lesley Holloway added another run-scoring single later in the inning before a flyout to Kao ended the threat.
Eureka battled back to tie the game behind the second run-scoring single of the game from senior third baseman Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.). Tapper and freshman first baseman Amanda Murphy (Manteno, Ill./Manteno H.S.) had drawn walks earlier in the inning and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch from Greenville reliever Mattie Fairchild to set the table for Doty.
Greenville put the eventual winning run on the basepaths in the seventh inning on Eureka’s fourth error of the game. A sacrifice bunt, fielder’s choice and wild pitch eventually put runners at second and third for Fairchild, who lifted a 2-2 pitch up the middle into center field to score pinch runner Erin Williams for the walk-off victory.
Doty went 2-for-3 in the nightcap and matched a season-high with three runs batted in. Eureka freshman starting pitcher Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) yielded only three earned runs in 6.2 innings of work. Fairchild earned the victory in relief for Greenville despite throwing nearly as many balls (46) as strikes (49) in 4.2 innings of work. Each team stranded 13 baserunners during the contest.
The doubleheader split ends Eureka’s season with a 10-18 overall record and a 7-9 SLIAC record.
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