The Eastern Kentucky University softball team picked up a pair of wins on the opening day of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to move into the semifinals of the winner’s bracket.
EKU (32-18) won game one, 6-2, against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, before defeating Murray State University, 5-3, in game two.
In game one Eastern scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back against SIUE.
Melissa Jacobsen started the inning with a walk putting a runner on first with one out. Hannah Clark followed with a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Emily Corbitt singled to left field to give Eastern the early 1-0 lead. Zoe Mihalicz followed with a double into the right center gap to cap a three-run first inning.
SIUE (16-28) answered back in the top of the fourth. After three straight singles by Zoe Schafer, Alana Cobb-Adams and Abby Marlow, Edwardsville cut the lead to 3-1. Kloe Hilbrenner brought in the second run of the inning with a sac fly to right field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Mihalicz got the Colonels started with a hit by pitch. After a walk by Carly Robinson put runners on first and second with no one out, the two runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. With one out Brooke Harrison executed the squeeze to perfection to bring home Mihalicz and take a 4-2 lead.
After Clark reached on an error in the bottom of the fifth and advanced to second on a ground ball, Corbitt brought in her second run of the game with a single back up the middle to take a 5-2 lead. Erica Bowers walked to put runners on first and second. Robinson followed with a RBI single up the middle to take the 6-2 lead.
Mollie Paulick (13-7) picked up the win in the circle going four innings in relief and striking out four.
Corbitt went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs. Mihalicz chipped in a 1-for-2 performance with one double and two RBIs.
In game two Murray State scored in the bottom of the first after Madison Culver brought home Lillie Goetz to give the Racers an early 1-0 lead.
The Colonels responded in the top of the third. Erica Bowers got things started with a leadoff walk. Brooke Harrison laid down a bunt and everyone was safe after the third baseman threw the ball into center field. Sammi Miller delivered after that, she sent a 1-1 pitch down the left field line to tie the game at 1-1. Melissa Jacobsen wasted no time giving Eastern the lead. Jacobsen sent a 1-0 pitch over the shortstop’s head to bring home Harrison and take a 2-1 lead. Desitinee Lizzmore brought in the final run of the inning after a RBI groundout.
Murray State (26-26) responded in the bottom half of the inning after Sierra Gilmore doubled home Goetz to make the Eastern lead 3-2 after three innings.
In the top of the fifth Lizzmore delivered the knockout punch. After a Clark single got things started with one out in the top half of the inning. Lizzmore sent the first pitch she saw over the right field fence for her 15th of the year to give Eastern the 5-2 lead.
The Racers answered with one in the bottom of the fifth but could never get any closer.
Samantha Reynoso (10-2) picked up the win in the circle tossing two and two-third innings of relief allowing one run. Paulick picked up her seventh save on the year.
Eastern returns to the field tomorrow when the Colonels take on No. 1 seed Southeast Missouri State University. First pitch is at 12:30 p.m.