Softball Eliminates No. 1 Seed Eastern Illinois, 9-1; Advances to OVC Tournament Championship
May 14, 2011
By Jeff Honza
CHARLESTON, Ill. - Fifth-seeded Southeast Missouri (30-29) eliminated top-seeded Eastern Illinois (40-12) with a 9-1 victory in a game shortened to six innings by the league's run-rule. The Redhawks will face second-seeded Jacksonville State for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title at 8 p.m., CT, tonight.
Southeast advances to the OVC Tournament finals for the ninth time in 15 trips to the league's postseason event. The Redhawks also reach the OVC Tournament Championship game for the first time since 2009.
The Redhawks will look to avenge an earlier loss to JSU in this year's OVC Tournament. The Gamecocks no-hit Southeast en route to a 4-0 win Saturday. Southeast will need to beat JSU two times to win the title.
Southeast and JSU were scheduled to meet approximately 35 minutes following the Redhawks 10 a.m. elimination matchup against EIU. Rain has pushed the game time to this evening.
The Redhawks again got to OVC Pitcher of the Year Amber May early, this time with Shelby Kuryllo blasting her eighth home run deep over the left field wall to grab Southeast a 1-0 lead with one out in the first.
The Panther defense broke down behind May in the second inning, committing two errors on one play. Taylor Cowan led the inning off with a single to right. Amber Ewert pinch ran for Cowan and stole second to get into scoring position. Cheyenne Gipson laid down a bunt and went to second when EIU third baseman Kiley Holtz's throw skipped by first base. Right fielder Hayley Pieper's throw sailed over Holtz's head near the Panther dugout, allowing both Cowan and Ewert to score.
Shortly after Kaitlin Wallace walked, Gipson touched home on a wild pitch. After Melissa Walker grounded out for the first out of the inning, Evan Sallis reached on a bunt single and Walker went to third.
Then, EIU head coach Kim Schuette elected to remove her starting pitcher, but there was confusion with her lineup due to a substitution she had made just before the start of the game. Following a lengthy delay, Stephanie Maday entered the game to pitch and May went to first base.
Once play resumed, Maday recorded back-to-back groundouts, but not before another run scored, giving the Redhawks a 5-0 lead.
EIU spoiled freshman starting pitcher Alora Marble's shutout when Carly Willert hit a solo home run to center in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Southeast later answered with two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to put the win on ice.
Kuryllo and Renee Kertz each singled and scored in the fifth, while Wallace and Walker added base hits and came around to score in the sixth. Three Panther errors also figured into the Redhawks scoring over the final two innings.
Marble (18-8) went the distance, striking out three, walking one and allowing five hits and a run in another dazzling performance.
May (23-6) suffered the loss. She scattered three hits and gave up five runs (four earned) in just 1.1 innings.
May gave way to Maday in the second, who gave up six hits and four runs in 4.2 innings. Maday also struck out four and walked none. Southeast registered nine hits. Sallis and Kuryllo led the way with two apiece. Kuryllo chipped in a game-high two RBI. In addition, eight different Redhawks scored.
EIU finished with five hits.
Southeast won three of its five meetings with the Panthers this year.