Softball Topples No. 1 Seed Eastern Illinois, 4-0
May 12, 2011
By Jeff Honza
CHARLESTON, Ill. - Freshman Alora Marble tossed a complete game three-hit shutout to help fifth-seeded Southeast Missouri (29-28) stun top-seeded Eastern Illinois (39-11), 4-0, Thursday night at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
Marble, after going the distance to earn Southeast's victory over SIU Edwardsville earlier in the day, came back off three hours rest to take down EIU. She also struck out one and walked two in her masterful performance.
A Second-Team All-OVC selection, Marble owns a streak of 12-consecutive scoreless innings entering Friday's matchup against second-seeded Jacksonville State, slated for 3 p.m., CT. The winner of that game will move on to the championship round.
"Alora gave us another great start and we had a key first inning," said Southeast head coach Lana Richmond. "She pitched well with a tight strikezone and was the story of the game."
While Marble dismantled the Panther lineup, Southeast's offense had 2011 OVC Pitcher of the Year Amber May on the ropes early and delivered the knockout punch in the game's first two innings.
The Redhawks sent seven hitters to the plate in a first inning which saw May issue three walks and throw 33 pitches.
Evan Sallis drew a leadoff walk and scored on an ensuing double by Nicole Troncoso. Troncoso later scored with the help of two passed balls to grab Southeast a quick 2-0 advantage. Three of the first four hitters in the Redhawks lineup walked to ignite the surge.
Southeast added another run in the second inning, which saw Sallis hit a two-out triple and score an unearned run when Troncoso's line drive went off the glove of Panther second baseman Carly Willert.
The Redhawks put the exclamation point on their impressive victory with one final insurance run in the top of the seventh. Cheyenne Gipson reached on an infield single, stole second and scored with the help of Sallis' bunt single and an error.
Marble, who faced four hitters over the minimum, improved her record to 17-7 overall and 2-0 in this year's OVC Tournament. She also sat the Panthers down in order in each of the first, second and seventh innings. Additionally, Marble pitched out of a jam after issuing back-to-back walks with one out in the sixth.
May fell to 22-5 after giving up seven hits and four runs, three of which were unearned. She also struck out five, walked three and threw a total of 126 pitches.
Hailee Hanna led EIU with two hits.
Interestingly enough, Southeast posted its first win over a No. 1 seed at the OVC Tournament. The Redhawks were 0-6 against the tourney's top-seeded teams prior to tonight. The Redhawks were the No. 1 seed five times in their OVC Tournament history (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999).