NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Eureka College softball team won twice Thursday at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Red Devils edged Wentworth (Mass.) 2-1 in Thursday's opener and rolled to a 9-1 victory over Penn State-Abington in five innings in the second game.
The wins Thursday brought Eureka's record through eight games to 7-1 for the second time in the last three seasons. It's the third time since 1990 the Red Devils have won at least seven of their first eight games.
Eureka 2, Wentworth 1
Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) collected two of the Red Devils' four hits in the opener against Wentworth. Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) and Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) also hit safely. Right-hander Gabby Wood (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) allowed one run in 5.0 innings to improve her early-season record in the circle to 2-0.
Osborn's RBI double in the bottom of the first inning staked the Red Devils to a 1-0 lead. Eureka later scored what proved to be the winning run without recording a hit in the second inning. Three Wentworth errors in the frame allowed Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.) to score from third for a 2-0 lead when Dura's ground ball was misplayed at first base.
The Leopards didn't get their first hit until the fifth inning. Caroline Shea tripled to center field and scored three batters later on Vanessa Weymouth's RBI single, slashing Wentworth's deficit to 2-1. Wood doused the WIT rally moments later with a bases-loaded strikeout to end the inning.
Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) did the rest in the circle for EC. She retired six consecutive batters after a leadoff error in the sixth to secure her second career save. She needed only 14 pitches – all strikes – to get through the final 2.0 innings.
Eureka 9, Penn State-Abington 1
Eureka smashed 12 hits in its abbreviated 9-1 win over Penn State-Abington. Four different Red Devils had multiple hits, including three hits and a pair of run-scoring triples from Wood. Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) earned her third win of the season and her 39th career win, yielding one run on five hits over 5.0 innings. She struck out a season-high nine.
Wood's two-run triple in the bottom of the first inning gave Eureka a 2-0 lead and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. A costly PSU error in the bottom of the second inning allowed the Red Devils' lead to balloon to 7-0. EC strung together five consecutive run-scoring hits during the rally, including extra bases from Dura, Osborn and Wood.
The Nittany Lions avoided the shutout with a run in the third, but Eureka punched back with Danielle Brittain's (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) RBI single. Cagley put the eight-run rule in play with another run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth.
The Red Devils will return to campus Friday and will have a week off from game competition. Eureka is scheduled to return to the diamond next Thursday, March 15 in a 2 p.m. non-conference doubleheader at USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield.