EUREKA, Ill. – Gabby Wood (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) broke open game one with a bases-loaded triple and later smashed her fifth collegiate home run in game two to drive the Eureka College softball team to a non-conference doubleheader sweep of USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield, Wednesday afternoon in Eureka. The Red Devils won the opener 8-3 and also triumphed in the nightcap, 10-2 in six innings.
The Red Devils won their fifth and sixth consecutive games to improve to 25-7 overall, their second 25-win season in the last three years and just their third 25-win season of the modern era. EC closed the home portion of its schedule with a 10-2 mark.
Game 1: EC 8, Robert Morris-Springfield 3
Eureka scored eight runs on seven hits and five walks in the opener. Deidra Whightsil (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall H.S.) was 2-for-2 with a double, her first two hits of the season. Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) went the distance in the circle to improve to 12-2 this season.
The hosts never trailed in game one, claiming a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run single from Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.).
Ali Nowicki helped RMU break into the run column with an RBI single in the top of the third inning, but Eureka put the game further out of reach in the fifth. The Red Devils loaded the bases on two singles and a walk in front of Wood, who emptied the logjam on the base paths with a three-run triple for a 5-1 advantage. Whightsil and Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) tacked on run-scoring doubles to highlight a three-run sixth and the Red Devils coasted to the game-one win.
Game 2: EC 10, Robert Morris-Springfield 2
The Red Devils scored early and often and erupted for 14 more hits in game two. Wallace and Courtney Kurtz (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) each hit safely three times while Klaire Wilmot (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) and Wood added two hits apiece. The Red Devils didn't strike out in 34 total plate appearances.
Wood's two-run bomb came in the bottom of the first inning. The long ball was her fifth of the season, making her the seventh player and second freshman in program history to hit at least five home runs in a season. She needs one more home run to match Smith's freshman record of six home runs set last spring.
One day after breaking the all-time Eureka record for pitching wins, Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) extended her new record to 47 with a complete-game victory. She struck out four, scattered six hits and allowed only one earned run.
The Eureka lead doubled to 4-0 in the second thanks to RBI singles from Wilmot and Wallace. Nowicki and Seleste Smith got the visitors on the board with RBI in the third, but Eureka promptly recovered the four-run cushion in the bottom of the frame when Kurtz singled home Wood and later came around to score on an RMU error.
Kurtz, Wilmot and Wallace added more RBI over the next two innings. Eureka put the eight-run rule in play in the sixth when Zeman led off the inning with a triple and ultimately scored on a groundout from Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.).
Eureka will look to nail down a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament berth this Saturday when the Red Devils close the regular season in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at Fontbonne in the St. Louis suburb of St. Ann, Mo. EC currently sits in a third-place tie with the Griffins in the league standings and guarantee a spot in the four-team tournament field with two wins on Saturday.