FULTON, Mo. – The Eureka softball team kept itself in a heated St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff race by splitting with conference leader Westminster on Saturday.
The Red Devils did just enough to earn the victory in the opener, edging the Blue Jays 3-2 in a game that was up in the air until the final pitch.
The Blue Jays bounced back by racking up 16 runs on 15 hits and scoring a 16-1 victory to preserve the split.
After Saturday's action, EC (18-6 on the season) is tied with Iowa Wesleyan in conference play with a 10-4 league record. Westminster is on top of the SLIAC at 13-3, with Spalding (6-2) and Greenville (13-5) in second and third, respectively.
Eureka has split with every team in that cluster except for Spalding. The Red Devils will welcome the Golden Eagles for the last doubleheader of conference season on Sunday, April 28 at 12 p.m.
Game 1: Eureka 3, Westminster 2
Playing on the road, the Red Devils scored a single run in the third, sixth and seventh inning to take a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh.
After holding the Blue Jays scoreless for the first six frames, EC ace Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap) saw Westminster turn it into a one-run game after conceding a two-out, two-run double to Madison Washington. She walked Mikala Guthrie to put the winning run on base, but then got E. Holloway to ground out for the final out and clinch the win.
Smith is now 10-3 on the season after limiting the Blue Jays to two runs on nine hits and four walks in seven innings.
Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) delivered her third home run of the season in the sixth to make it 2-0, and a sac fly RBI by Osborn in the seventh gave EC the three-run advantage.
Shubert (Canton, Ill./Canton) went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington), Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood), Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru ) and Faith Bachtold (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) all contributed a hit as well.
Game 2: Westminster 16, Eureka 1
Game 2 wasn't always a blowout. The Blue Jays scored two runs in the first and three runs in the third, but it didn't get out hand until Westminster racked up 11 runs on eight hits and two errors in the fourth.
Payne went 2-for-3 and drove in the Red Devils' lone run on an RBI single down the third-baseline in the fifth. Bachtold contributed a double and Shubert had a single.
Every player in the Westminster batting order recorded at least one hit. Guthrie and Bailee Zemianek each tallied thee hits, while Washington and Katie Price registered two.
Zemeniak, Hannah Schroeder and Brooklyn Bledsoe all belted home runs for the home team.
Up Next: The Red Devils will take on Lincoln in non-conference action on Tuesday at Sweitzer Field. First pitch is at 2 p.m.