Eagles shut out Panthers for series win

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CHARLESTON, Ill. – University of Southern Indiana Softball picked up a road series win at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, as the Screaming Eagles shut out the Panthers, 2-0, to finish off the series.
 
Entering Saturday’s series finale, USI was third in the Ohio Valley Conference standings with a 7-6 conference record. Eastern Illinois was second in the league table at 9-1 in the OVC, sitting percentage points behind first-place Southeast Missouri State University.
 
The start of Saturday’s game was reminiscent of Friday’s series opener, as both starting pitchers were dialed in early. Southern Indiana sophomore pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) held Eastern Illinois hitless through 3.1 innings. With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Panthers cracked the hit column with a double and then a single, placing runners at the corners. Newman was unfazed, as she struck out back-to-back batters to get out of the jam. The sophomore had five strikeouts through four innings.
 
On the flip side, Eastern Illinois junior pitcher Olivia Price was just as solid as her game 1 start on Friday. In the second and third innings, Southern Indiana sophomore infielder Hailey Gotshall (Lucerne, Indiana) and senior infielder Rachel Martinez (Chicago, Illinois) each had leadoff singles, but Price was able to draw a double play in each inning.
 
The Screaming Eagles struck for the game’s first run in the top of the fifth inning. Gotshall led off the frame with a single up the middle and advanced to second after a productive sacrifice from senior infielder Jordan Rager (Fishers, Indiana). Senior Emma Tucher (New Palestine, Indiana) pinch ran for Gotshall at second base and came around to score on a two-out, RBI single into centerfield by Martinez.
 
Southern Indiana threatened again and doubled its lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning. Senior outfielder Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana) began the inning with a single down the left-field line and advanced to second on an EIU error, forcing Eastern Illinois to remove Price for senior pitcher Rachel Kaufman in the circle. Two batters later, Bedrick crossed home plate on an RBI single from senior Allie Goodin (Evansville, Indiana).
 
Gotshall and Martinez led USI at the plate, finishing 2-for-3, while Martinez and Goodin accounted for the RBIs.
 
Newman locked in the 2-0 shutout win in the bottom of the seventh inning, picking up a pair of strikeouts. Newman earned her 12th win of the season to move to 12-7. She also tossed her 12th complete game and fifth shutout of the 2023 campaign. The right-hander struck out eight total in seven innings of work.
 
Eastern Illinois’ Price dropped to 8-3 with the loss, going five innings and allowing two runs – one earned – off five hits.
 
With the win, the Screaming Eagles improved to 14-17 this season and 8-6 in the OVC. Eastern Illinois dropped to 20-15 overall and 9-2 in conference play, as both of EIU’s OVC losses came at the hands of USI this weekend.