ELSAH, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team rallied for a 4-3 win in game one and later rolled to a 21-0 victory in five innings in game two to earn a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of Principia, Saturday afternoon in Elsah, Ill. The wins gave EC a 2-0 start to league play for the third consecutive season.
The 21-run margin of victory in game two was Eureka's largest since beating Rust (Miss.) 21-0 on March 15, 2011. The Red Devils have won all 19 meetings with PC since 1995, including a 17-0 mark in SLIAC action since the Panthers revived their softball program prior to the 2010 season.
Eureka is now 9-5 overall and 2-0 in conference action for the third consecutive season. The Red Devils have won at least nine of their first 14 games for the second consecutive season and just the third time since 1996.
Sophomore shortstop Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) gave EC a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the opener, but PC responded with run-scoring hits from Lauren Daughery and Emily Hewitt to lead 2-1 after one inning.
Eureka regained the advantage for good in the third when Dura and senior catcher Lexi Litwiller (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Lincoln) recorded back-to-back singles and ultimately scored for a 3-2 lead on a two-run double by junior pitcher Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.). Litwiller added insurance in the fifth, drilling an RBI double for a 4-2 lead.
Consecutive PC doubles in the sixth cut its deficit in half and put the tying run in scoring position with only one out, but George retired five straight Panthers to end the game, escaping the sixth-inning jam and working an uneventful seventh inning.
Dura, Litwiller and George each had two hits in game one. George drove in two. Eureka recorded nine hits as a team.
The Red Devils made sure game two would have very little drama, scoring 13 times in the second inning to quickly put the game out of reach. The visitors sent 18 batters to the plate during the outburst, collecting eight hits and taking advantage of three PC errors to build the huge lead.
Eureka also scored four times in the third and twice in the fourth to maintain its momentum. All nine starters had at least one hit. Freshman designated player Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washingotn H.S.) and George led the Red Devils with three hits apiece.The Red Devils will continue SLIAC action Monday in a 3 p.m. doubleheader versus Greenville in Eureka.