EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) and Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) combined to drive in eight runs Saturday to become the third and fourth players in program history to reach 100 career RBI while George inched closer to the all-time Eureka wins record with a victory in the circle in game two, helping the Eureka College softball team cruise to a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sweep of Principia at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Ill. The Red Devils won game one, 11-1 in five innings, and claimed the nightcap with a 12-4 triumph in six innings.
Saturday's games were moved to East Peoria due to wet field conditions in Eureka. The victories improved Eureka to 12-2 overall and 4-0 in the SLIAC. Both marks equal the Red Devils' 14-game start from 2016, a season in which Eureka won 29 games and went to the league tournament. EC's current record is one off the pace of the Red Devils' 13-1 mark in 1990 as the best start to a softball season in school history.
Dura and George are the first teammates in program history to reach 100 career RBI. Dura closed the doubleheader with 104 for her 88-game career, passing Cathy Kalnicky's four-year total of 103 for second-most in Eureka softball history. George increased her career total to 100 on Saturday, fourth-most in the history of the program. Jami Larson (1990-93) currently owns the all-time Eureka record with 108 RBI.
Game 1: EC 11, Principia 1
Dura and Courtney Kurtz (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) had two hits apiece to drive the Red Devils' eight-hit attack. Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) yielded only three hits over 5.0 innings to collect her SLIAC-best fifth win of the spring.
A bases-loaded walk to Leah Schaefer allowed the visitors to grab a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but EC quickly evened the score in the bottom of the frame on Dura's run-scoring single.
The Red Devils seized control of the contest just one inning later, taking advantage of a pair of PC errors to score five times on only two hits. Kurtz singled and scored the go-ahead run on an error in the PC infield. After back-to-back walks, Dura pushed the Red Devils' lead to 4-1 on a two-run single and the cushion later swelled to 6-1 when Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Peoria H.S.) and Dura came around to score when George's ground ball was misplayed by the Panthers.
A three-run third inning highlighted by George's two-run single extended Eureka's lead to 9-1. Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) singled home two more Red Devils in the fourth to set the final margin. Smith worked a perfect fifth inning to give EC the abbreviated victory via the eight-run rule.
Game 2: EC 12, Principia 4
Eureka had 11 hits in the nightcap, led by a 3-for-4 effort with three RBI from Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.). and a 3-for-4 performance by Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.). Dura doubled twice with a pair of RBI.
George was outstanding in the circle, allowing only one earned run on three hits over 6.0 innings. She struck out seven Panthers en route to matching Smith for the SLIAC lead with five wins in 2018. George's career win total now sits at 41, third-most in Eureka softball history and four shy of tying Tina Sharp (1993-96) for the program's all-time record.
The Panthers stunned EC early, loading the bases and scoring three times in the top of the second inning. Sarai Marcano was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for a 1-0 cushion. Two batters later, the PC lead became 3-0 when Schaefer and Ashley Noville scored on a dropped popup in the EC infield.
Eureka's deficit would be short-lived. A failed pickoff attempt at third base allowed Kurtz to score EC's first run of the day. Wallace's RBI groundout pulled the hosts within 3-2 in front of Dura, who drilled a two-run double into the gap and the EC lead was 4-3.
The Red Devils scored multiple runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Kurtz hit a sacrifice fly in the third for a 6-3 cushion. Cagley and Zeman collected run-scoring singles in the fourth and Cagley drove in two more with a base hit in the fifth. Osborn's RBI groundout in the sixth pushed Eureka's lead to 12-4 and put the eight-run rule into effect.
Eureka is scheduled to hit the road again Wednesday in a 3 p.m. twin bill at preseason SLIAC favorite Greenville in Greenville, Ill.