Redhawks complete weekend sweep with victory over Eastern Kentucky

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Southeast Missouri State softball team capped off a perfect Ohio Valley Conference weekend with a thrilling come-from-behind victory Sunday.

After tying the game with a two-run sixth inning, the Redhawks pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh to beat visiting Eastern Kentucky 3-2 and complete a three-game series sweep.

Southeast improved to 19-15 overall and 8-4 in OVC play, good for fourth place in the 10-team league. EKU (13-20, 4-8) is the defending OVC regular-season and tournament champion.

"It's a huge win, and it was a very good weekend for us," Southeast coach Lana Richmond said. "It keeps us in the OVC race, and we've got a lot of big series left to play."

Senior Victoria Torrez struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher as Torrez reached first safely and Fisher advanced to third.

Senior Kelly Birk was intentionally walked to load the bases, then junior Stephanie Huffman ended the contest with a single to left field to score Fisher.

"I was just thinking go for it," said Huffman, whose hit did not clear the shortstop by all that much, although she said with a smile, "I knew it was over the infield."

Added Huffman: "It was a great game, and this is a big win. We have a lot of big games coming up. I think we'll be stepping up, showing the conference what we have."

"Stephanie stepped up and delivered a huge hit," Richmond said.

The Redhawks also continued to play stellar defense. In the top of the seventh, sophomore center fielder Lindsay Pickering robbed leadoff batter Amy Mayrhofer with a diving catch. Saturday, Pickering leaped over the fence to take a home run away.

"Lindsay made another outstanding play," said Richmond, whose squad did not make an error Sunday and had only one error in the series.

Fisher, after firing a five-inning shutout as part of Saturday's doubleheader sweep, continued her impressive recent pitching as she replaced Southeast ace Amy Fahnestock with one on and nobody out in the fourth.

Fisher (4-3) gave up just one hit over the final four innings, striking out two and walking none. Fahnestock allowed five hits and two runs in three innings.

"Elaine shut them down, and she also got the leadoff walk in the seventh," Richmond said. "She had another strong performance."

Jennifer Norris had two of the Colonels' six hits. EKU scored both its runs in the second on Mayrhofer's RBI double and Suzie Schaefer's RBI single. The Redhawks had five hits.

Southeast has a nonconference home doubleheader with St. Louis University at 4 p.m. Thursday, then resumes OVC play this weekend as first-place Samford visits for a three-game series.

"That's going to be a really big series," Richmond said.

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