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March 24, 2008

Eagles muscle past Drury in home-opener,
Eickholt claims sole possession of doubles mark

at Southern Indiana (14-12, 3-1 GLVC): 11, Drury (10-21, 1-7 GLVC): 3 (6 innings)
-Game 1 Box Score

at Southern Indiana: 9, Drury 8
-Game 2 Box Score

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana softball team racked up a combined 20 runs off 25 hits and three home runs in a sweep of GLVC foe Drury University Monday afternoon in its home-opening doubleheader at the USI Softball Field.

USI (14-12, 3-1 GLVC) scored eight times in the bottom of the sixth inning of game one to post an 11-3 victory. The Screaming Eagles overcame a four-run deficit to post a 9-8 win in the second game.

After scoring a run on a Lacey Ligmanowski (Homer Glen, Illinois) RBI single in the second inning of game one, the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead when sophomore designated player Sara Loete (Pekin, Illinois) hit a two-run blast over the leftfield fence.

Drury (10-21, 1-7 GLVC), however, stormed back in the sixth inning with three runs to tie the contest and force senior hurler Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida) out of the game.

Tara McConnell

Sophomore catcher Tara McConnell (Henderson, Kentucky) answered Drury's charge with a solo blast to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning and give the Eagles a 4-3 lead. Following a pitching change, USI continued to pour on pressure as a walk and a pair of infield singles loaded the bases for senior third baseman Kristin Eickholt (Van Wert, Ohio), who came through with a one-out, two-run double.

Kristin Eickholt

The double was Eickholt's school-record setting 45th two-bagger of her career and, more importantly, gave the Eagles a three-run cushion. USI, however, was not finished with the inning as seven more batters came to the plate, including McConnell, who had a two-run single, and Ligmanowski, who finished the contest with the game-ending, RBI-hit.

Sophomore pitcher Kambria Current (Indianapolis, Indiana) was credited with the win after relieving Harrison in the top of the sixth inning. Current (4-0), who was roughed up in the second game before giving way, ironically, to Harrison, retired both the batters she faced in the sixth to pick up the win.

Game two started off the same way game one ended: with a lot of runs. Drury struck first with a run in the first inning, but the Eagles quickly responded with four in the bottom of the inning to jump out to a 4-1 advantage.

The Eagles got RBI singles from freshman first baseman Brittany DeWeese (Evansville, Indiana) junior shortstop Allyn McKinley (Sullivan, Indiana), and McConnell to give Current a three-run cushion.

Drury, however, sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored six times to take a commanding 7-4 lead.

USI found itself down by four runs after a one-out blast over the left-centerfield fence by Drury third baseman Stephanie Ray in the top of the third inning.

Kathy Wood

Once again, though, the Eagles responded with another four-run inning in the third frame. With two outs and the bases loaded, senior leftfielder Kathy Wood (Lynnville, Indiana) hit a three-run triple to the rightfield wall to bring the Eagles to within a run. Wood scored on the next at-bat as Eickholt followed with a run-scoring single to tie the contest at eight.

After a scoreless top half of the fourth inning, DeWeese led off the bottom portion with a solo home run—which tied Loete for the team lead (6)—to give the Eagles a 9-8 advantage.

Harrison (6-7), who gave up the home run to Ray in the third inning, made the lead stand up as she settled down to allow just two hits throughout the final four innings to pick up the victory.

USI is scheduled to return to action Tuesday at 5 p.m. when it hosts Brescia University at the USI Softball Field. The Eagles return to conference action this weekend when they visit Quincy University Saturday and defending national champion Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Sunday. Both doubleheaders are slated for noon starts.

Notes: Sophomore catcher Tara McConnell finished the day with an overall 5-for-7 performance at the plate that included a home run and four RBIs…Head Coach Sue Kunkle needs just two more wins to reach 200 in her career at USI and just nine more wins to surpass former Head Coach Beth Watson for number one on the program's all-time list.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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