Eureka Sweeps Blackburn on Senior Day

Photo courtesy of Cory McCain.
Photo courtesy of Cory McCain.

EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College senior third baseman Bridget Bankes (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) ripped her sixth career home run to highlight the Red Devils' 11-hit attack in game one and junior second baseman Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) drove in four runs as part of a 3-for-3 performance in the nightcap, sending EC to a Senior Day sweep of Blackburn on Saturday. Eureka won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener, 12-2 in five innings, and also won game two in five innings, 9-1.

The Red Devils claimed the lead in the bottom of the second inning of game one when junior center fielder Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) hit an RBI double into right-center field gap for a 1-0 lead. Sophomore shortstop Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) followed with a two-run home run to straightaway center, her first of the season, and the EC lead was 3-0.

Blackburn got on the board on Daniele Burnell's run-scoring single in the third, but the hosts answered with another three-run frame. George pulled an RBI single through the hole on the left side to push the lead to 4-1 before Bankes drilled a two-run bomb for a 6-1 cushion.

Eureka remained in control throughout the rest of game one. EC banged out five hits and took advantage of a pair of BC errors in the fourth to score six times. Four different Red Devils drove in a run during the outburst, including three consecutive run-scoring hits by freshman Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.), George and sophomore Madaline Kane (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.).

Dura went 3-for-4 with three RBI out of the leadoff spot. George finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and Bankes also collected two RBI. Eight Red Devils had at least one hit.

George picked up her seventh pitching victory of the season, yielding two runs on seven hits over 5.0 innings in the complete-game win.

In game two, the Beavers jumped in front 1-0 thanks to Burnell's RBI single in the top of the first. George answered in the bottom of the frame with a two-run single, igniting EC's burst of nine unanswered runs to close the contest. George's two-run double in the third helped EC take a 5-1 advantage.

The Red Devils erupted for four runs in the fifth to win the nightcap via the eight-run rule. Bankes doubled home Kane, followed by an RBI groundout from freshman pitcher Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.). Dura tacked on another RBI single before the Beavers misplayed an infield single from freshman Emmalee Lewis (Green Valley, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.), allowing EC's ninth run to score.

Dura and George had three hits apiece in game two. Smith limited the BC lineup to two hits, striking out five to earn the win.

Eureka hosted its annual Senior Day ceremony prior to Saturday's doubleheader. The 2017 campaign is the final collegiate seasons for Bankes and senior catcher Lexi Litwiller (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Lincoln).

The Red Devils will continue SLIAC action Wednesday in a 3 p.m. twin bill at MacMurray in Jacksonville, Ill.