Potent offense lifts Eureka to Opening Day wins

Potent offense lifts Eureka to Opening Day wins

NORTH MRYTLE BEACH, S.C. – Eureka College softball player Savanna Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) began her senior campaign with a 3-for-3 effort in game one, including a leadoff triple in the Red Devils' first at-bat of the season, earning Eureka an 11-0 season-opening victory over Sarah Lawrence and later tacked on another hit in the Red Devils' 13-5 win over Wisconsin-Stout, engineering EC to a 2-0 start at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sunday afternoon.

A Gryphons' leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth was the only hit allowed by the Red Devils' pitching staff. The contest was split between right-hander Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria), right-hander Rachel Patterson (Tremont, Ill./Tremont [Illinois Central]) and right-hander Kylie Whightsil (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall).

George got the start, firing 2.0 innings of hitless ball while striking out three and walking two. Patterson followed that up with 2.0 innings of perfection, allowing no base runners and striking out a pair. Whightsil tossed the fifth inning in her first collegiate action on the mound, allowing one hit, striking out one and walking two.

The EC offense provided more than enough in the win over the Gryphons. The Red Devils collected three hits to build a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Krysten Wallace's (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone) ground out brought home Tapper while George's single to center drove in Lexi Litwiller (Eureka, Ill./Eureka [Lincoln College]) to aid the early attack.

Eureka plated six runners in the third, beginning with a two-RBI triple to left field from Patterson. A sacrifice fly in the following at-bat from Deidra Whightsil (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall) platted Patterson. The Red Devils got help on a SLC error that allowed two runners to score and freshman infielder Kerrigan Dura (Brimfield, Ill./Brimfield) roped a double up the middle scoring Wallace.

Newcomer Bridget Bankes (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria [Heartland]) emphatically capped her first game as a Red Devil with a no-doubt two-run home run over the right field fence in the fourth. Tapper later supplied a run-scoring double to tally Eureka's final run. Tapper was a home run shy of the cycle in the opener.

The Red Devils continued to fire on all cylinders in game two against the Blue Devils, erupting for four runs in the first inning. Dura doubled home two runners while Bankes and Patterson each drove in one apiece.

Stout answered with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to even the contest momentarily. 

Wallace scored her second run of the contest on a Litwiller single in the second, giving the Red Devils the lead for good, 5-4.

Mimicking the first contest, Eureka sparked a six-run inning in the third paced by a bases-clearing triple from Litwiller, stretching the EC advantage to 8-4. The Red Devils' lead ballooned to 11-4 later in the inning behind a RBI single from George and two-RBI double by Patterson.

The Red Devils put the game further out of reach in the fifth to secure a 13-5 cushion. Jordan Detmers (Hartsburg, Ill./Hartsburg-Emden) and Tapper each picked up RBI's in the game's final frame.

George picked up the victory in the circle for Eureka, tossing 5.0 innings and allowing two earned runs. The righty allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out four.

The Red Devils pounded out 16 hits in the victory over Stout, including three hits from a trio of starters (Dura, Litwiller, Patterson). All ten batters reached safely in the contest.

Eureka will try for its second 3-0 start in three years Monday when action continues with two more games at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach.  The Red Devils will begin the day with an 8:30 a.m. CST start against Principia, followed by a 12:30 p.m. CST contest against Keystone (Penn.).