For Immediate Release
Softball -- April 11, 2012
Red Devils Sweep SLIAC Twinbill From MacMurray
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team swept a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader from MacMurray, Wednesday afternoon in Eureka, Ill. Junior starting pitcher Sarah Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) allowed only one earned run on three hits in a 5-1 triumph in game one, while junior second baseman Kelli Dunne (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S./Illinois Central) fell a home run short of the cycle in the Red Devils’ 11-3 triumph in six innings in game two.
Eureka junior shortstop Jaylynn Stewart (Taylorville, Ill./Taylorville H.S.) sparked the Eureka offense in the second inning of game one, ripping a one-out single to center field and later stealing second base. She scored the first run of the game moments later on an RBI single up the middle from sophomore right fielder Ashley Segerstrom (LeRoy, Ill./LeRoy H.S.), and the hosts led 1-0.
The Red Devils tacked on insurance with a three-run fourth inning. Dunne singled and Stewart walked in front of sophomore catcher Emily Campbell (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.), who unloaded a two-run double to deep left field to score Dunne and Stewart for a 3-0 cushion. Campbell ultimately came around to score on an RBI double from sophomore first baseman Amanda Murphy (Manteno, Ill./Manteno H.S.) to bump Eureka’s advantage to 4-0.
After Dunne singled home sophomore left fielder Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Illinois Central) for a 5-0 lead in the fifth, the Highlanders got on the board in the top half of the sixth. MacMurray used two singles and fielder’s choice before center fielder Veronica Grgin lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Beth Boyer to trim the deficit to 5-1. Jesse responded by forcing Taylor Hopson to bounce into a fielder’s choice, ending MacMurray’s only offensive threat of the game.
Jesse struck out three and walked none, needing only 89 pitches to earn the 32nd complete game of her three-year collegiate career. The victory was her third of the season and 16th of her career. She needs one more win to tie Becky Wright for ninth place on the all-time Eureka win list. Dunne was 2-for-3 from the cleanup spot with a pair of RBI, as six different Red Devils recorded at least one hit in the victory.
Dunne’s RBI single to score Eeten in the bottom of the first inning gave the Red Devils an early 1-0 lead in the nightcap. Eureka maintained that slim advantage until the Highlanders earned their first and only lead of the afternoon with a two-run fourth inning. Whitney Mendenhall delivered the go-ahead two-run single with two outs in the inning.
Eureka answered with a seven-run fourth inning, smashing seven hits and exploiting four errors by the MacMurray defense. The first three batters of the inning reached base before Campbell, Murphy and Eeten drove in runs to chase MC starting pitcher Katie Woods from the game. Senior third baseman Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) and senior center fielder Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) each drove in runs against MacMurray reliever Taylor Carter before Dunne’s fourth triple of the season scored Hamilton for an 8-2 lead.
Boyer’s RBI bunt single in the top of the fifth brought the visitors back within five, 8-3, but Eureka responded with three runs over the next two innings to put the eight-run rule into effect. Freshman starting pitcher Karson Gragert (Georgetown, Ill./Georgetown-Ridge Farm H.S.) singled to score Campbell and Eeten later drove in Murphy on a groundout in the fifth, while it was Stewart’s single down the left field line to score Hamilton with nobody out in the sixth that ended the game.
Dunne matched a career-high with four hits in game two. She joined Eeten with a game-high two RBI, as seven different Red Devils picked up an RBI. Eeten, Hamilton and Gragert each recorded two hits. Gragert was effective in the pitching circle, allowing only three earned runs over 6.0 innings. She struck out two and walked only one. Wednesday’s outcome marked Eureka’s first consecutive victories of the 2012 season and first doubleheader sweep since taking two contests from Blackburn on April 6, 2011.
Eureka will continue its six-game homestand this Saturday with a 1 p.m. SLIAC doubleheader against Principia in Eureka. The Red Devils will host their annual Senior Day, honoring seniors Alig, Hamilton and Heather Flanigan (Streator, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S.) during a ceremony between games of the doubleheader.
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