ST. ANN, Mo. – The Eureka College softball team played the final two games of the 2018 regular season on Saturday afternoon at Fontbonne, dropping both ends of a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader to the Griffins at ABC Park in St. Ann, Mo. Fontbonne came back for a 4-3 win in game one and broke a late tie to win game two, 7-4.
The losses ended EC's regular season with a 25-9 record and an 11-7 record in the SLIAC. Eureka, which could have clinched a SLIAC Tournament bid with one victory Saturday, must now wait on the results of as many as four games played by Webster and Spalding on Sunday and Monday.
Eureka can clinch the fourth and final slot for next weekend's league tournament if Webster and Spalding split their doubleheader Sunday in St. Louis. If Webster sweeps the Golden Eagles Sunday, Eureka must hope for the Gorloks to lose at least one game in Monday's doubleheader versus Iowa Wesleyan. If Spalding sweeps Webster Sunday, Eureka will be eliminated from conference tournament contention.
Game 1: Fontbonne 4, EC 3
Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) and Gabby Wood (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) collected two hits apiece, but the Red Devils were limited to five hits overall in the opener. Only two of the four runs allowed by Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) were earned.
Fontbonne took a 1-0 lead on Maddy Strickland's sacrifice fly in the first inning, but Eureka evened the score at 1-1 in the third on Wood's run-scoring double down the left field line.
Eureka scored twice in the fourth without getting a hit. Back-to-back walks followed by an FBU error on a sacrifice but attempt allowed Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) to score for a 2-1 lead. Another Fontbonne fielding error stretched Eureka's lead to 3-1 later in the inning.
The Griffins used a decisive three-run rally in the sixth. Strickland's double into the left-center field gap cut Eureka's lead to 3-2 with one out in the frame. Eureka appeared to escape further danger three batters later when Smith forced a ground ball from Kayla Winker with two outs in the inning, but an error in the EC infield allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score for a 4-3 advantage.
A fielding error in the top of the seventh inning put the tying run on the bases for the Red Devils, but a strikeout and a fly out ended the game.
Game 2: Fontbonne 7, EC 4
Eureka bounced back for a nine-hit effort in game two, led by two hits apiece from Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.), Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.), George and Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.).
Zeman singled to score the first run of the game in the first inning and the Red Devils led 1-0. The hosts responded with a four-run third inning to grab a 4-1 lead. Maddie Cooksey hit one of three RBI doubles in the inning to tie the game and Alleigh Kruse singled in the go-ahead run.
The Red Devils promptly punched back with three runs in the fourth. Zeman strated the frame with a single and ultimately scored on a wild pitch before Wallace tied the game at 4-4 with a two-run single to right field.
The tied score would be short-lived. Courtney Kedroski singled to drive in what held up as the winning run in the fifth. Emelia Modgllin tacked on an RBI triple and Melanie Russo provided further insurance in the sixth with a run-scoring double down the right-field line.