NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Eureka College freshman pitcher Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) fired a perfect game in her collegiate debut, helping the Red Devils throttle Lehman (N.Y.) 13-0 in five innings, Sunday afternoon at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. EC's seventh-inning rally fell short earlier in the day in a 5-4 loss to Ursinus (Pa.).
Smith didn't allow a base runner Sunday, facing the minimum over 5.0 innings. It's the first time Eureka has held an opponent without a hit since Jodie Bowen and Margaret Schwab combined for a 10-0 drubbing of Hilbert on March 10, 2014, also at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach.
The Red Devils exploded for 10 runs in the first inning of the victory over the Lightning. A run-scoring triple from sophomore shortstop Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) got the Red Devils on the board. Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) and Smith added run-scoring hits in the frame, as EC collected only four hits during the assault and took advantage of four Lehman errors.
Six different Red Devils recorded a hit in the victory. Senior catcher Lexi Litwiller (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Lincoln) went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Dura and Smith also drove in two.
In the Sunday's season opener, fell behind Ursinus 5-0 after five innings. The Bears broke the contest open with a four-run fifth inning, highlighted Callie Crouse's two-run, two-out single. A double steal and an unearned run later in the frame finished the damage.
Eureka got one back on an RBI fielder's choice in the sixth. The real threat came in the seventh when EC loaded the bases with nobody out on back-to-back singles and a fielder's choice. George made it 5-2 with an RBI groundout before Litwiller crushed a two-run double to pull EC within a run at 5-4. With Litwiller the tying run at second, UC pitcher Jennifer Hammons induced a flyout and a groundout to secure the victory.
Litwiller went 2-for-3 in the opener with a double and two RBI. Senior third baseman Bridget Bankes (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S., freshman shortstop Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) and Dura were the only other Red Devils to collect a hit. George struck out three but took the loss in the circle.
Eureka will continue competition Monday with two more contests in North Myrtle Beach against NCAA Division III opponents. The Red Devils will play Hilbert at 12:30 p.m. CST, followed by a 2:30 p.m. CST matchup with John Jay.