By ASHLEY OWENS
Eastern’s softball team traveled April 5, 6 and 8 for a series of OVC play. The team took on Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Morehead State University, each in doubleheaders. The Colonels split day one against Eastern Illinois with a 2-1 victory in game one and a 1-0 loss in game two.
Game one in Saturday’s doubleheader was a day for home runs, with all three runs of the game coming from solo home runs. The Colonels defeated Eastern Illinois 2-1.
Eastern Illinois (26-11, 7-4 OVC) jumped ahead of the Colonels early and picked up a run off a home run down the left field line in the second inning. The Colonels tied up the score when senior Christina Ciolek knocked a solo home run over left field in the fourth inning.
The score stayed tied at 1-1 for the next three innings, which pushed the game into extra innings. Freshman Krislyn Campos came out with the winning run after hitting her first collegiate home run.
Junior Leanna Pittsenbarger gave up a solo home run in the second inning, but held Eastern Illinois down the rest of the game. Pittsenbarger earned the win and set a new single-game record for Eastern with 18 strikeouts.
Eastern fell to Eastern Illinois in game two, 1-0.
The lone run came in the third inning when Eastern Illinois’ Brooke Owens hit a 2-out double to left field and pushed fellow teammate Haylee Beck across home.
The Colonels were unable to retaliate with any runs of its own in the remaining innings.
Sophomore Hayley Flynn reached a personal best of seven strikeouts in the six innings she pitched.
Eastern fell 2-0 against Southern Illinois in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader event April 6.
Pittsenbarger took the loss, which only makes her second loss in her last eight starts. Southern Illinois’ Haley Chambers earned her second shutout of the season in the win against the Colonels.
Southern Illinois’ runs came from an RBI single in the third inning and a solo home run over left field in the fifth inning.
Eastern made a late spark in game two as it picked up its last five runs in the seventh and final inning to grab an 8-5 victory against Southern Illinois.
Up until that last inning, the Southern Illinois Cougars led the Colonels 5-2. Eastern refused to quit, however, and battled back in the fifth inning to pick up a late win.
Junior Katie Tackett pushed the game-changing inning along when she blasted an RBI single. A Cougar error pushed two more runs across the plate and Eastern picked up a 6-5 lead. Junior Shannon McQueen made a ground-out RBI to give a cushion on the scoreboard for the Colonels. A solo home run from sophomore Sarah Fobbs gave the Colonels a lead Southern Illinois could not compete with.
Fobbs now leads the Colonels with seven home runs this season.
Freshman Alex Sallberg pitched 5 innings of relief and allowed just one unearned run.
Eastern defeated Morehead 4-0 in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Pittsenbarger led the Colonels’ defense and struck out eight Morehead Eagles batters, while she only gave up two hits.
The Colonels’ started the game on a strong end and picked up its first run in the first inning. A passed ball by Morehead pushed Joyce across home plate for the run.
Joyce made another key play in the second inning as she blasted an RBI double to give Eastern a 2-0 lead over the Eagles. Campos stepped up to the plate and pushed the final two runs in with a two-RBI hit.
Morehead received another scoreless game from Eastern in game two of the day, where the Colonels won 5-0. Ciolek and Joyce carried Eastern’s offense with multiple hits between them.
Campos made her way to first base off a single then stole her way to second base.
With Ciolek up to bat next, she hit an RBI double to give Eastern a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ciolek stepped up again in the third inning with her second RBI double of the game. Tackett followed up with her own RBI to put a third run on the board.
With her third RBI double, Ciolek helped give Eastern a 4-0 lead over Morehead. The fifth and final run came in the fifth inning after Mitchell blasted an RBI with two outs.
Sallberg stepped in to pitch for Flynn in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Colonels (18-14, 6-4 OVC) return to Richmond at 1 p.m., April 12 and 13 to take on OVC foe Belmont University. Eastern will travel to Knoxville April 15 to compete against Tennessee State University.