NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Eureka College senior center fielder Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) collected three hits and sophomore right-hander Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) picked up her second win of the season in the circle in the Red Devils' 7-1 win over Cedar Crest (Pa.), Wednesday afternoon at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. EC also dropped a 9-1 decision in six innings to Eastern Mennonite (Va.) earlier Wednesday.
Wednesday's early defeat to the Royals snapped the Red Devils' season-opening four-game win streak, EC's longest run without a loss since a six-game win streak last April. The late-afternoon win over the Falcons ran Eureka's season record to 5-1, equaling the same 5-1 start in 2016 that was the Red Devils' best six-game stretch to start a season since the 1990 Red Devils opened the spring with 11 consecutive wins.
In the nightcap against Cedar Crest, Eureka grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.) singled, advanced to second base on an error, stole third and ultimately scored on a sacrifice fly from Courtney Kurtz (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.). The Falcons evened the score in the bottom of the frame on Jackie Gallagher's run-scoring single.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until Eureka found breathing room in the fifth. Wallace broke the tie with a single that plated pinch-runner Klaire Wilmot (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.). Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) followed with an RBI double into the gap and Cagley made it 5-1 two batters later when her double scored two more runs. EC found additional insurance in the seventh thanks to run-scoring singles from Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) and Kurtz.
Wallace and George had three hits apiece in the win. Cagley and Kurtz each drove in two. Eureka smashed 10 hits as a team and took advantage of four Cedar Crest errors.
Smith worked around four CCC hits. She threw 86 pitches – 51 for strikes – and struck out one. The Eureka defense didn't commit an error behind her.
Eureka never found traction in its early loss to Eastern Mennonite. The Royals put the Red Devils on their heels early thanks to three first-inning hits that led to a 2-0 lead. A single, two doubles and a sacrifice fly doubled EMU's lead to 4-0 in the fifth and the Royals broke it open when Danielle Brenneman's three-run home run highlighted a five-run sixth inning. When the dust settled, EMU led 9-0.
Wallace recorded Eureka's first hit of the opener when she led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Two batters later, Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) smashed a double into the right-center field gap to usher the Red Devils into the run column, but the late signs of offense wouldn't be enough.
Eureka will play its final two games of the spring-break trip Thursday in North Myrtle Beach. The Red Devils are scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. CST bout with Wentworth (Mass.) and a 12:30 p.m. matchup with Penn State-Abington.