For Immediate Release
Softball -- March 28, 2012
Jesse Lifts Red Devils to Doubleheader Split With Knox
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College junior pitcher Sarah Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) fired 5.0 scoreless innings to earn her fourth career complete-game shutout and lead the Red Devils to an 8-0 victory in game one of a non-conference doubleheader against Knox, Wednesday afternoon in Eureka, Ill. The Prairie Fire held off a furious seventh-inning rally from the Red Devils in game two to claim a 6-5 win and twinbill split.
The Red Devils (4-12) didn’t waste time racing to a sizable advantage in the opener, plating five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore left fielder Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Illinois Central) led off the frame with a bunt single, stole second base and ultimately moved to third base on a groundout. She scored the game’s first run on an RBI single from senior center fielder Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) for a 1-0 lead.
Two batters later, junior shortstop Jaylynn Stewart (Taylorville, Ill./Taylorville H.S.) drilled a two-run triple to the opposite field and eventually scored on the play when KC misplayed a relay throw from the outfield for a 4-0 lead. Jesse added an RBI single later in frame for the 5-0 cushion. Eureka sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
Junior second baseman and reigning St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week Kelli Dunne (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S./Illinois Central) ripped an RBI triple in the second inning and later scored on a wild pitch for a 6-0 advantage. The Red Devils won the game via the eight-run rule after scoring two more times in the fifth. Stewart doubled down the left field line to start the inning and scored two batters later on an RBI double from sophomore first baseman Amanda Murphy (Manteno, Ill./Manteno H.S.). Jesse ended it two batters later with an RBI single to score Murphy for the 8-0 lead.
Jesse scattered four hits through 5.0 innings for the complete-game shutout. She struck out two and walked only one. Stewart turned in an excellent performance after missing the previous seven games due to injury, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and her second career triple. Stewart and Jesse each drove in two runs in the win.
In game two, Knox (3-5) grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Amber Eisha in the top of the first inning. The Red Devils responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Eeten reached on a throwing error to start the inning and moved around to tie the score at 1-1 on an RBI double from senior third baseman Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.). Alig eventually stole third and scored on Stewart’s RBI single to give Eureka a 2-1 cushion. The hosts made it 3-1 in the third on another RBI single from Stewart.
Knox forced a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning on back-to-back RBI singles from Amanda Lee and Avecena Hollingsworth. The Prairie Fire regained the lead two innings later when Lee singled home another run for a 4-3 cushion. KC eventually tacked on insurance runs thanks to sacrifice flies from Hollingsworth and Amanda Wollrab to carry a 6-3 lead into Eureka’s final at-bat.
Eeten started the seventh with her only hit of the game, a bunt single to the left side of the infield. Alig followed by reaching on a dropped infield popup, giving EC runners on the corners with nobody out. Hamilton pulled an RBI infield single to KC shortstop Jordan Shaffer to score Eeten, but Shaffer was able to flip the ball to second baseman Rhiannon Neuville-Norton to tag out Alig in between second and third base for the first out of the inning. Dunne closed the gap to 6-5 with a triple to the fence in right field to score Hamilton from first, but Stewart lined into a double play to end the game and leave Knox with a 6-5 victory.
Dunne finished game two 3-for-4 with the RBI triple in the seventh inning. Stewart went 2-for-4 in the nightcap and closed the doubleheader 5-for-7. Eureka freshman starting pitcher Karson Gragert (Georgetown, Ill./Georgetown-Ridge Farm H.S.) threw all 7.0 innings from the circle, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits. She matched a career-high with six strikeouts despite taking the loss.
The Red Devils will continue a busy stretch of game competition with a 1 p.m. SLIAC doubleheader against Webster this Saturday in Eureka. The Red Devils will host their “Pitch For Pink” event, wearing special pink uniforms and collecting donations for Susan G. Komen For the Cure in support of breast cancer research and awareness.
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