MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa – Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) threw a two-hit shutout for her 42nd career victory and Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) homered twice, helping the Eureka College softball team return to the win column in Thursday's St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sweep of Iowa Wesleyan in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The Red Devils prevailed in extra innings in the opener, 7-2, and romped to a 10-0 victory in the nightcap.
The wins ended Eureka's brief three-game league skid and marked the Red Devils' first conference sweep since downing Principia twice on March 31. Eureka is now 15-5 overall and 7-3 in the SLIAC for third place in the current league standings.
Game 1: EC 7, Iowa Wesleyan 2
Dura and Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) picked up two hits apiece to lead a Eureka offense that finished with nine hits. Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) became the first SLIAC pitcher to win seven games and allowed only one earned run over a career-high 9.0 innings. She struck out six and walked none.
Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) put the Red Devils on the board in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI double to left field for a 1-0 lead. The hosts promptly answered in the home half of the frame when Haley Varga hit a two-out RBI double for a 1-1 tie.
The game remained tied at 1-1 through seven innings. Eureka regained the lead in the top of the eighth on a run-scoring single from Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.) for a 2-1 edge. The Tigers responded again in the bottom of the inning when McKenzie Copher started the inning on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule and later scored when the EC infield committed an error on IWU's sacrifice bunt attempt. With the winning run on base with nobody out, Smith retired three consecutive batters to get the game to the ninth.
Eureka took charge with a decisive ninth inning. Klaire Wilmot (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) gave the Red Devils a 3-2 lead with her first collegiate RBI on a one-out single up the middle to score Zeman. Osborn drove in another two batters later and Dura finished the rally with a three-run bomb off the face of the scoreboard to extend the EC lead to 7-2. Smith worked a perfect ninth to finish the win.
Game 2: EC 10, Iowa Wesleyan 0
In the nightcap, George threw her fourth career complete-game shutout of 7.0 innings or more to win her sixth game of the season and 42nd career game for the Red Devils, third-most in program history. She now needs just three more wins to tie the all-time Eureka record of 45 wins held by Tina Sharp (1993-96). George struck out four Tigers on Thursday and lowered her season ERA to 2.22.
At the plate, seven different Red Devils had two hits while Dura and Osborn each homered to lead a 15-hit outburst.
Eureka broke a scoreless tie in the third when Osborn drilled her sixth career home run for a 2-0 lead. George added an RBI single up the middle four batters later and the Red Devils led 3-0 at the end of the inning.
Dura added her second homer of the afternoon in the top of the sixth to swell EC's lead to 5-0. The hit allowed Dura to tie Savanna Tapper for fourth place on the Red Devils' all-time home runs list with nine.
The Red Devils put the game further out of reach with a five-run seventh inning. Danielle Brittain (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.), Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) and Gabby Wood (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) each contributed RBI hits during the rally, as Eureka sent 10 batters to the plate before a lineout ended the damage.
Eureka will play its eighth and ninth SLIAC road games in a six-day stretch when Fontbonne hosts the Red Devils Friday night in a showdown between two teams near the top of the league standings. First pitch in the St. Louis suburb of St. Ann, Mo. is scheduled for 5 p.m.