George Sparks Red Devils in Sweep of Harris-Stowe

Photo courtesy of Cory McCain.
Photo courtesy of Cory McCain.

EUREKA, Ill. -- Eureka College junior pitcher Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) smashed her second career home run and pitched a complete-game one-hitter in the circle, lifting the Red Devils to an 8-0 victory over NAIA Harris-Stowe in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader. EC scored a single run in the first inning of game two to win the nightcap, 1-0.

The Red Devils set the tone for a blowout victory in game one with a pair of home runs in the top of the second inning. George deposited a delivery from HSSU starter Nakeyah Bradford over the left-center field fence to give EC a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, senior third baseman Bridget Bankes (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) yanked a solo home run to left field for a 3-0 cushion.

The inning finally came to a close with the Red Devils in front after senior catcher Lexi Litwiller (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Lincoln) and freshman second baseman Courtney Kurtz (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) added run-scoring hits for a 5-0 lead.

The lead swelled to 6-0 in the fourth when freshman Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. The hosts won via the eight-run rule in the fifth when Bankes singled home George and junior center fielder Krysten Wallace (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) coaxed a bases-loaded walk.

George went 3-for-3 and fell a triple short of a cycle. She was equally fantastic in the pitching circle, retiring the first 14 hitters she faced before Ariel Lipe spoiled her perfect-game bid with a two-out triple in the fifth. In all, George needed only 38 pitches to blank the Hornets over 5.0 innings for the complete-game one-hitter. She struck out three.

Eureka produced all the offense it would need in the first inning of game two. Freshman right fielder Morgan Osborn (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) pulled a two-out double into the right-center field gap to score Litwiller for a 1-0 lead.

The Red Devils collected eight hits throughout Tuesday's nightcap in four of the contest's seven innings, but couldn't extend their lead. Dura and Kurtz had two hits apiece atop the batting order.

The offense was enough for the pitching duo of sophomore Kylie Whightsil (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall H.S.) and Smith, who combined to limit the Hornets to four hits over 7.0 scoreless innings. Whightsil completed 5.0 innings to earn her second win of the season, while Smith locked down Eureka's first save since April 19, 2014 by throwing 2.0 perfect innings to finish the win.

Eureka will continue non-conference competition Wednesday when it travels to USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield for a 3 p.m. doubleheader. The Red Devils swept a twin bill from the Eagles on March 24 of this season and have won 13 of its last 14 in the series since April 3, 2013.