For Immediate Release
Softball -- April 23, 2012
Red Devils Sweep Away Principia on Senior Day
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team celebrated its Senior Day in grand style Monday afternoon, sweeping a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader from Principia. Eureka walked off with a 5-4 win in eight innings in game one before holding on for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.
The Red Devils (8-24, 5-11 SLIAC) ran into trouble in the first inning of the opener, allowing three Principia runs for an early deficit. The Panthers (3-25, 2-12 SLIAC) started the game with back-to-back singles and got on the board thanks to Marina Whitney’s RBI single. Christine Nacewicz later scored on a wild pitch before Makaela Thompson steered a run-scoring single through the hole on the right side for a 3-0 advantage. Principia made it 4-0 in the second inning when Casey Lee scored an unearned run after a two-out error in the Eureka infield.
Eureka got a run back in the fourth when junior shortstop Jaylynn Stewart (Taylorville, Ill./Taylorville H.S.) drilled an RBI single up the middle to score junior second baseman Kelli Dunne (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S./Illinois Central), but Stewart was tagged out trying to advance to second to end the inning with the Red Devils trailing, 4-1.
The deficit remained 4-1 until the hosts plated three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman designated player Courtney Crone (Streator, Ill./Woodland H.S.) started the rally when she reached first base after her sharp ground ball to Principia shortstop Jocelyn Shoemake was misplayed. After a wild pitch, single and a stolen base put two runners in scoring position, Eureka senior center fielder Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) smashed a two-run double to deep center field to trim the deficit to 4-3. Dunne tied the game at 4-4 in the next at-bat with an RBI single up the middle to score Hamilton.
Neither squad could push a run across in the seventh inning before the Red Devils won the game in the eighth. Playing international tiebreaker rules, Eureka senior third baseman Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) was placed at second base to begin the inning. She moved to third base when Principia starting pitcher Devon Harrison uncorked a wild pitch on the very pitch of the inning. Two batters later, Hamilton’s sacrifice fly to to center field allowed Alig to tag and score the winning run for Eureka’s first one-run walk-off victory since beating the same Principia squad nearly two years ago to the day, 3-2, on April 22, 2010.
Dunne paced the offense in the opener with a 2-for-3 effort, while Hamilton drove in three runs. Junior starting pitcher Sarah Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) allowed three earned runs over 8.0 innings to earn the complete game and her fourth victory of the spring. Jesse is now tied for ninth in program history with 17 career wins.
The Red Devils struck first in the nightcap, scoring three times against Principia starter Lee for a 3-0 advantage. Dunne pulled an RBI single down the left field line to score Alig for the first run of the game before a PC fielding error allowed Dunne and Stewart to score on an RBI single from Eureka sophomore catcher Emily Campbell (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.).
The score remained 3-0 in favor of the Red Devils until Principia scored twice in the fifth. After Marianna Distel connected on a leadoff single up the middle, Jocelyn Shoemake smashed a triple into the left-center field gap to score Distel and cut the deficit to 3-1. Shoemake later scored on Nacewicz’s single for the Panthers to trail, 3-2.
Dunne helped Eureka pad its lead in the bottom half of the inning with her fourth career home run, a towering two-run drive to dead-center field for a 5-2 advantage. The hosts tacked on an unearned run before the inning was over when sophomore first baseman Amanda Murphy (Manteno, Ill./Manteno H.S.) singled home Stewart, who had reached on an error with one out in the inning.
Principia had one final rally left in the seventh. Singles from Thanda Kyaw and Whitney and a hit batsman loaded the bases in front of Thompson, who deposited the first pitch she saw into the right-center field gap to clear the bases for a three-run triple and a 6-5 deficit. With Thompson representing the tying run at third base with two outs, Distel bounced out to the pitcher’s circle to end the game and secure a doubleheader sweep for the Red Devils.
Dunne fell a double short of the cycle in game two, finishing 3-for-3 with three RBI. Freshman starting pitcher Karson Gragert (Georgetown, Ill./Georgetown-Ridge Farm H.S.) picked up her fourth career win in the circle, allowing five earned runs over 7.0 innings. She struck out two.
Eureka will play its final home doubleheader of the season on Wednesday in a non-conference matchup with Robert Morris-Springfield at 3 p.m. in Eureka.
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