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April 26, 2008

Seniors lead Eagles to sweep, into GLVC Tournament

at Southern Indiana (31-21, 14-10 GLVC): 2, Ky. Wesleyan (12-32, 6-18 GLVC): 0
-Game 1 Box Score

at Southern Indiana: 3, Kentucky Wesleyan: 2 (10 innings)
-Game 2 Box Score

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana softball team celebrated Senior Day Saturday afternoon at the USI Softball Field after using some outstanding performances from its senior class in a doubleheader sweep of Kentucky Wesleyan College to finish the regular season and qualify for its 16th consecutive trip to the GLVC Tournament.

USI (31-21, 14-10 GLVC), which reaches the 30-win plateau for the fourth straight season and 10th time in 12 years, defeated the Panthers 2-0 in game won before notching a 3-2 victory in a thrilling extra-inning game two.

Sara Loete

In game one, USI used a pair of RBI singles by sophomore designated player Sara Loete (Pekin, Illinois) to give senior hurler Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida) more than enough support to grab her team-leading 14th win of the year.

Loete had a two-out single to drive in senior leftfielder Kathy Wood (Lynnville, Indiana) in the bottom of the first inning and a one-out single in the third inning to drive in junior rightfielder Lacey Ligmanowski (Homer Glen, Illinois).

Amy Harrison

Harrison (14-12) was stellar in her final appearance at the USI Softball Field as she allowed just three hits and one walk, while striking out five batters to record her fourth complete-game shutout of the season.

Kentucky Wesleyan (12-32, 6-18 GLVC) threatened in the fifth inning by loading the bases with no outs, but Harrison got three straight outs to preserve the lead and keep the Panthers off the board.

In game two, the Panthers scored twice in the top of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead and looked to be in command with junior pitcher Haleigh Ashworth in the pitching circle. Ashworth, who pitched both games, had the Eagles' number in game two as she held the Eagles to just one hit throughout the first five innings of the contest.

The Eagles, however, used their one hit and took advantage of an error in the bottom of the second inning to push a run across the plate and cut Kentucky Wesleyan's lead in half.

Niki Stewart

USI, which got some stellar defensive play from senior second baseman Niki Stewart (Evansville, Indiana) and freshman infielder Dani Finkelstein (Windsor, Colorado), waited until the sixth inning to make its next move.

Kristin Eickholt

Senior centerfielder Kirsten Morgan (Oakland City, Indiana) led the inning off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Kentucky Wesleyan catcher Katy Lee. Two batters later, senior third baseman/pitcher Kristin Eickholt (Van Wert, Ohio) came through with a two-out RBI-single to tie the contest at 2-2.

After three straight scoreless innings, Eickholt once again came through for USI, this time with a two-out, walk-off single in the 10th inning to give the Eagles a 3-2 win. Eickholt (4-3), who entered the pitcher's circle in the second inning, also picked up the victory after holding the Panthers scoreless on two hits in eight-and-a-third innings of work.

The Eagles will have to wait until Sunday evening to find out what seed they will be heading into the GLVC Tournament, which is May 1-3 at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Illinois. USI will do no worse than the fifth seed, but could move as high as the third seed with some help Sunday.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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