EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College freshman outfielder Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) hit the go-ahead home run and junior right-hander Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) yielded one run over 7.0 innings, lifting the Red Devils to their first victory over a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin opponent since 2003 in a 5-1 win over North Central (Ill.), Tuesday afternoon. The Cardinals salvaged a doubleheader split with a 10-1 win in the nightcap.
The Cardinals briefly led game one 1-0 on Anna Seffernick's RBI single before the hosts roared back with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. EC freshman Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) tied game when her double to center field scored sophomore first baseman Madaline Kane (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.), who singled to start the rally. Osborn did the rest of the damage, drilling her first collegiate home run over the left-center field fence to push the Red Devils to a 3-1 lead.
Eureka added insurance in the sixth when a dropped fly ball in the NCC outfield led to a pair of unearned runs.
George was strong in the circle, going the distance and allowing only the third-inning tally. She navigated around back-to-back one-out hits from the Cardinals in the seventh inning to record her 29th career win and move into sole possession of fifth place on Eureka's all-time wins list.
The game-one victory was Eureka's first against a CCIW opponent since beating Elmhurst 3-2 on April 2, 2003, snapping an 11-game losing streak versus CCIW foes.
In game two, the visitors quickly seized control thanks to a five-run second inning. A botched force play at second base early in the inning doomed the Red Devils, as all five of the NCC runs to score were unearned.
The NCC lead swelled 9-0 in the third behind run-scoring hits by Molly Price and Seffernick. Taylor Clugston made it 10-0 in the fifth with an RBI double down the left field line.
Trailing 10-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Smith smashed her second career home run, a deep drive over the left-field fence. The offense wasn't enough to stop the Cardinals' run-rule victory.
The Red Devils were limited to four hits in game two. Sophomore Kylie Whightsil (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall H.S.) threw 2.1 innings of relief, holding the visitors to one run on two hits.
Eureka was scheduled to open St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Wednesday at Webster, but inclement weather and unplayable field conditions forced that contest to be postponed. EC will now turn its attention to a Saturday league doubleheader at Principia at 1 p.m.