CARLINVILLE, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team slugged six home runs, Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) became the third pitcher in program history to win 40 games in the circle and the Red Devils opened the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule with a sweep for the fourth consecutive season in Wednesday's big league victories over Blackburn in Carlinville, Ill. Eureka won the opener, 13-7, and followed with a 10-3 triumph in game two.
The victories improved the Red Devils to 10-2 overall. Eureka is also 2-0 in conference action for the fourth year in a row following sweeps over Principia (2015, 2017) and MacMurray (2016).
Game 1: Eureka 13, Blackburn 7
Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) came up big for the Red Devils in the opener, going 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) and George also homered in the game-one win, helping the Red Devils record a season-high 17 hits as a team en route to their largest run total since a 21-0 win at Principia on April 1, 2017.
Reigning SLIAC Pitcher of the Week Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) went the distance on the rubber for the Red Devils to improve her season record to 4-0.
Back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the bottom of the first inning gave Blackburn a 2-0 lead, but Eureka recovered to grab a 3-2 lead on RBI hits from Smith and Dura and a sacrifice fly from Gabby Wood (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.). Blackburn pushed back with a three-run bottom of the third inning to reclaim a 5-3 advantage.
The Eureka offense exploded for a seven-run fifth inning to take charge of the contest. Dura's first home run of the season leveled the score at 5-5 and Courtney Kurtz (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) moved EC back in front three batters later with a two-run double and a 7-5 cushion. Osborn provided the exclamation point, slugging a three-run bomb and the Red Devils had doubled up the Beavers, 10-5.
George's solo home run with one out in the sixth pushed the lead to 11-5 and Dura doubled home two more in the seventh for a 13-5 advantage. Abby Frerichs scored two for BC with a home run in the bottom of the inning to pull the hosts within 13-7, but the rally wasn't enough.
Game 2: Eureka 10, Blackburn 3
The Red Devils had 11 hits in the second game of the twin bill, led by two-hit efforts from Osborn, Dura, Kurtz and Danielle Brittain (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.). George and Brittain each drove in three runs. Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) walked four times and her all-time program record now stands at 69.
George struck out five and allowed only one earned run in the complete-game victory. The decision marked her 40th collegiate win, third-most in program history and five shy of equaling the all-time Eureka record of 45 held by Tina Sharp (1993-96).
The hosts grabbed an early 3-0 lead in game thanks to a home run from Brooke Daniels and an RBI double by Baylee Hughes.
Osborn's RBI single got EC on the board to trail 3-1 in the top of the third, but it was another huge inning that allowed the Red Devils to again seize momentum. Eureka tied the game at 3-3 on back-to-back home runs, Brittain's first collegiate home run and Osborn's second long ball of the doubleheader. A walk and a single from the next two batters set the table for George, who smashed her second homer of the day, a three-run shot to give the Red Devils a 6-3 lead.
The score remained 6-3 until Eureka put up four insurance runs in the seventh. Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) and Brittain delivered consecutive two-run singles, highlighting a stretch of five consecutive batters to reach safely to begin the inning. George sat down the Beavers in order in the bottom of the frame to secure the Red Devils' 10th win of the campaign.
Weather permitting, Eureka is scheduled to play its first home games of the season Saturday at noon against SLIAC rival Webster.