EUREKA — The Eureka softball team picked up a pair of non-conference wins over Knox on Tuesday, notching its sixth victory in its last eight games.
With the sun shining down on Sweitzer Field, the Red Devils put the eight-run rule into effect in both an 11-3 opener and a 12-2 Game 2.
With the wins, EC improved to 12-4 on the season.
Game 1: Eureka 11, Knox 3 (5 inn.)
In the opening game, EC got off to a relatively slow start and trailed 3-1 after the first inning of play.
However, after Sydney Shubert's (Canton, Ill./Canton) aggressive base-running led to a run in the first and a Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington) RBI sacrifice fly in the second, the Red Devils took control in the third. They tallied three runs on four hits and an error. Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington) scored on a wild pitch and Klaire Wilmot (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru) dove in two with a single to the gap in right-center.
An Osborn RBI sac fly in the fourth made it 6-3, then a five-run fifth-inning rally ended it early.
The Red Devils finished the game with 16 hits. Shubert went 4-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI. Osborn went 3-for-3, doubled, drove in three and scored twice, while Faith Bachtold (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) went 3-for-3 and scored a run and Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) doubled and had two hits.
Junoir pitcher Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap) collected the win to improve to 7-2 on the season. The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week limited the Prairie Fire to three runs and six hits, walked none and struck out two — and belted a double at the plate.
Game 2: Eureka 12, Knox 2 (5 inn.)
In this one, Eureka racked up three runs or more in three of its four turns at bat. The Red Devils tallied three in the first, five in the second, zero in the third and four in the fourth.
By the time Knox got on the board with a leadoff homer by Cammie Stein in the third, the women in purple and gold were already down eight runs.
EC followed Game 1's 16-hit performance with a 15-hit showing.
Five Red Devils – Payne, Shubert, Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood), Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru) and Sidney Wightman (Waterloo, Ill./Gubault Catholic) — had at least two hits.
Ledbetter, the SLIAC's Hitter of the Week, went 3-for-3 with a double and a first-inning blast over the center-field fence. That gave her seven home runs on the year – just three shy of tying assistant coach Kelli Dunne's program single-season record, which was set in 2013.
Payne, a freshman, also doubled and homered, with her three-run shot extending the lead to 11 runs in the fourth inning. She's now up to five home runs on the season, one short of Smith's freshman single-season program-record from 2017.
Wightman earned her fourth win of the season, holding Knox to one run on three hits and two walks in four innings in the circle. Alisyn Showalter (Havana, Ill./Havana) conceded one run on two hits in one inning of relief.
Up Next: The Red Devils will continue non-conference play on Thursday with a doubleheader at St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Thursday at 2 p.m. and get back to SLIAC action with a league doubleheader at Webster at 1 p.m. Saturday.