Notebook: Red Devils Set For Long-Awaited Campus Opener

Photo courtesy of Ryan Barth.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Barth.
EUREKA, Ill. -- After a wait of 20 games over nearly seven weeks, the Eureka College softball team will finally play a game on campus when the Red Devils host St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival MacMurray Wednesday at 2 p.m.
 
Eureka will play eight games overall this week, taking a Thursday trip to Terre Haute, Ind. for a 4:30 p.m. CT doubleheader with Rose-Hulman. The Red Devils will return home Saturday for a 1 p.m. SLIAC doubleheader with Westminster and Sunday for a noon non-conference twin-bill with the NAIA St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
 
 
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
The Red Devils went 2-2 in SLIAC competition, dropping both games of a doubleheader last Tuesday at Greenville and sweeping two games from Iowa Wesleyan Thursday in Mount Pleasant.
 
Kerrigan Dura clubbed her 49th collegiate double in game one to break the EC softball program's all-time record and later belted a two-run home run in the nightcap to set the Red Devils' all-time RBI mark at 109, but preseason SLIAC favorite Greenville rallied in both ends of last Tuesday's league doubleheader to sweep the Red Devils in Greenville, Ill. The Panthers won the opener, 8-4, and also prevailed in game two, 5-4.
 
Dura broke the previous Eureka doubles record of 48 established by Allyson Carter (1994-97). Dura's 109 career RBI bested Jami Larson's (1990-93) mark of 108. Additionally, Dura's career batting average of .487 remains an all-time Eureka record and her 151 hits are fifth-most in school history, 33 shy of Carter's program record of 185.
 
Kali George threw a two-hit shutout for her 42nd career victory and Dura homered twice, helping the Red Devils return to the win column in Thursday's SLIAC sweep of Iowa Wesleyan in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The Red Devils prevailed in extra innings in the opener, 7-2, and romped to a 10-0 victory in the nightcap.
 
The wins ended Eureka's brief three-game league skid and marked the Red Devils' first conference sweep since downing Principia twice on March 31. Eureka is now 15-5 overall and 7-3 in the SLIAC for third place in the current league standings.
 
VS. MacMURRAY (Wednesday DH, 2 p.m.)
Eureka will begin the week with its first true home games of 2018 on Wednesday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader against MacMurray. The Highlanders are winless this spring -- 0-9 overall and 0-2 in the league.
 
The Highlanders, who are scheduled to host Fontbonne Tuesday afternoon before traveling to Eureka Wednesday, have been outscored 114-8 this spring. All nine of their defeats have come via the eight-run rule.
 
Samantha Valentine is in her third season as head coach at MacMurray. The 2008 Western Illinois gradute has an 8-61 record in Jacksonville.
 
Eureka won both games of last season's doubleheader in Jacksonville and owns 38-10-1 record in the series with the Highlanders since 1995.
 
AT ROSE-HULMAN (Thursday DH, 4:30 p.m. CT)
After three previous postponements, Eureka and Rose-Hulman will try for a fourth time to play their non-conference doubleheader on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. CT. The games, initially scheduled in Eureka, have been moved to Terre Haute, Ind. The Fightin' Engineers are 7-15 this spring, 0-8 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and have dropped four in a row. RHIT is scheduled to host Manchester Wednesday before Eureka visits on Thursday.
 
Longtime RHIT head coach Brian Shearer is in his 16th season. The Indiana State graduate has won 227 games in Terre Haute and led the Fightin' Engineers to conference championships in 2005 and 2008.
 
Eureka has never played Rose-Hulman in softball. The Red Devils have never played any of the nine teams in the Greenwood, Ind.-based HCAC.
 
VS. WESTMINSTER (Saturday DH, 1 p.m.)
Eureka will return to campus Saturday for a 1 p.m. twin bill with Westminster.
 
Westminster is 12-12 overall but is the final remaining unbeaten team in SLIAC play with a perfect 8-0 record for sole possession of first place in the league standings. WC will take its perfect league mark to Iowa Wesleyan on Wednesday before taking on the Red Devils Saturday.
 
Joe Henderson is the head coach at Westminster. Now in his fourth season, Henderson has guided WC to a 71-62 record and 2017 SLIAC regular-season title. He was named SLIAC Coach of the Year in 2017.
 
Westminster won both games of last season's doubleheader with the Red Devils in Fulton and has won three in a row in the series dating back to the 2016 SLIAC Tournament. WC is 16-11 in its last 27 contests against Eureka since 2006.
 
VS. ST. LOUIS COLLEGE OF PHARMACY (Sunday DH, Noon)
The Red Devils will face a quick turnaround on Sunday when the St. Louis College of Pharmacy visits Eureka for a doubleheader at noon. 
 
STLCOP has a 7-23 overall record in 2018. The Eutectics have not played any contests against NCAA Division III opponents this season, but are scheduled host Blackburn Tuesday in St. Louis. STLCOP will also host Lyon and Central Baptist before Sunday's games in Eureka.
 
Nick Jepsen is in his fifth season with STLCOP softball program and his second season as head coach. He piloted the Eutectics to a 2-28 record last season.
 
The St. Louis College of Pharmacy competes in the NAIA as a member of the American Midwest Conference. It was founded in 1864 in St. Louis. The Red Devils and Eutectics have met twice before, a doubleheader sweep by the Red Devils in St. Louis on April 1, 2015.