At a Glance
This week's SLIAC Game of the Week is a meeting between two of the top offensive teams in SLIAC softball, MacMurray College and Eureka College. MacMurray will visit Eureka on Thursday, March 31 for a SLIAC double header on the softball diamond, pitting the league's top hitting team (Eureka) against the third best hitting team (MacMurray). Game one is set for a 3:00 p.m. start in Eureka, Ill.
The Red Devils have come out with hot bats this season, hitting .367 as a team and averaging 8.0 runs per game. The Eureka offense features three players hitting over .400 on the season, led by infielder Kerrigan Dura's .569 average. Dura, a freshman, has plenty of pop in her bat; with seven doubles, three triples, and two home runs accounting for a .941 slugging percentage. Her 26 runs batted in are tops in the SLIAC. When Dura isn't driving in runners it is her teammate, junior catcher Lexi Litwiller (.457 average with 21 RBI). Rachel Patterson, a junior, gives the lineup depth, hitting .455 from her typical seventh spot in the batting order.
In the circle the Red Devils have relied on Patterson and sophomore Kali George. Patterson has logged 40 innings this season and leads the team with 30 strikeouts while holding a 2.98 earned-run average. George is the defending SLIAC Pitcher of the Week and has totaled seven wins with a 2.20 earned-run average while holding opponents to a .230 batting average.
The Highlanders are hitting .335 as a team, averaging 4.7 runs per game. They have had to out slug their opponents thus far as they look to find depth behind 2015 Second Team All-Conference pitcher Marrisa Harris. Harris has been solid in her appearances this year, holding a 3.00 earned-run average with 13 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.
At the plate the Highlanders are led by senior Taylor Hewitt. Hewitt is hitting .444 this season, with a .524 on-base percentage. Freshman Calynn Lageese and junior Tiffany Hazelwonder set up the top of the order, with both players hitting .429 on the year. There to drive them in is senior Jaimey Watrous, hitting .364 with a team best eight runs batted in.
- Eureka leads the all-time series against MacMurray 12-6, although the Highlanders swept the season series last year.
- MacMurray is coached by first year Highlander Samantha Valentine, who comes to MacMurray after six years as head coach at Brown County High School.
- Eureka, picked eighth in the 2016 SLIAC Preseason poll, has almost already surpassed their win total from last year (15).