EC Splits with Tigers in Crucial SLIAC Showdown

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

EUREKA – One winning streak came to an end and another may have begun for the Eureka softball team on Wednesday.

After Iowa Wesleyan got the edge in a 1-0 opener, the Red Devils answered with a 15-1 rout to preserve a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference split at Sweitzer Field.

The result keeps Eureka in third place in the SLIAC standings with a 9-3 record in league play and a 17-5 mark overall. The Red Devils have now won nine of their last 10 games.

Game 1: Eureka 1, Iowa Wesleyan 0

It was all about pitching in the opener.

Iowa Wesleyan ace Morgan Christner threw seven innings of shutout ball, holding Eureka to just four hits and one walk while racking up 10 strikeouts. Her counterpart, Eureka right-hander Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap), limited the Tigers to seven hits and one walk in seven winnings while striking out six and didn't concede a single earned run.

However, the Tigers picked up an unearned run on an RBI single to center by Alex Eyman following an error with two outs in the first inning, and it ended up being the game's only score.

EC's Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington) recorded a double, Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington) singled and walked, and Sydney Shubert (Canton, Ill./Canton) and Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood) each had a hit.

Eyman, who drove in the winning run for the Tigers, had two hits, as did Allison Daum, who was responsible for the team's only double.

Game 2: Eureka 15, Iowa Wesleyan 1 (5 inn.)

After getting blanked for the first time this season, it didn't take Eureka long to get the bats going in Game 2.

The Red Devils plated three runs on four hits and an error in the first and added three runs off two hits and an error in the second to take a 6-1 lead. Then, in the third, EC raked in seven more runs off eight hits and a third Tiger error to extend the lead to 12.

Ledbetter's fourth-inning, two-run homer to left-field – her second bomb of game – made it 15-1. All told, the Red Devils posted 15 runs on 17 hits in just four innings at the plate.

With the pair of blasts, Ledbetter is now up to nine home runs on the season, putting her just one behind assistant coach Kelli Dunne's program single-season record of 10, set in 2013. The first baseman posted a team-high five RBIs and was one of three Red Devils to notch three hits or more in the game.

Osborn was a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI and a team-high four runs scored, while Faith Bachtold (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) went 3-for 3 with a double and a run scored.

Shubert, Allison Cagely (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central), and Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru) all had two hits apiece, with Shubert contributing a two-run triple during the seven-run rally.

While her teammates were chalking up runs, Sidney Wightman (Waterloo, Ill./Gibault Catholic) had a quietly dominant performance in the circle. The freshman only gave up one run on five hits and zero walks in five innings of work, improving to 7-1 on the season.

Up Next: With just three conference series left on the schedule, EC heads to to play two against the second-place Blue Jays (12-14, 12-2 SLIAC) on Saturday at 1 p.m.