CLERMONT, Fla. -- Lexi Curt had so much fun with a game-winning hit in the first game Thursday, she did it again in the nightcap.
After her two-run home run provided the difference in a 2-1 win over Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the senior came back with a key RBI-double in the top of the sixth inning in the second game against Wisconsin-Whitewater, snapping a 5-5 tie in what eventually became a 8-5 win for the Ephs.
The sweep left Williams at 8-0. The Ephs are off Friday before returning to action Saturday with games against Wisconsin-Superior and Loras.
The opening game was a tremendous pitcher's duel between Eph sophomore Kirstin Mapes and Eau Claire's Sarah Peka. The pair combined to allow only five hits in the contest. Eau Claire took a 1-0 lead on a triple and a wild pitch in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the frame, Jessica Kim drew a walk and Curt followed with what can only be described as a prodigious blast to left-center field for her fourth home run of the season and a 2-1 Williams lead.
Making her second collegiate start, Mapes had the Bluegolds confounded for most of the afternoon, allowing just the two hits while not walking a single batter. She struck out five and got some defensive help from second baseman Brenna Martinez, who dove to her left and smothered a grounder seeking asylum in right field, then threw the batter out from her knees. Kristina Alvarado also lent a helping glove hand as she ranged far into the left-center field gap for a catch.
Eau Claire's Katelyn Yute - who had tripled and scored in the fourth -- led off the Bluegolds seventh with a single and was sacrificed to second. Carlie Christensen then grounded a ball to Kim at shortstop as Yute raced to third. Kim delivered a great throw to Riley Salvo at the bag just in time to get the runner out, and Mapes induced a pop up from the next batter to end the contest.
Rebecca Duncan was 2 for 3 for the Ephs. Curt was 1 for 2 with a home run and two RBI.
The second game did not get off to a great start for the Ephs as an error led to two Whitewater runs in the bottom of the first. It stayed that way until the top of the third, when, after an out, Curt strode to the plate and crushed a solo home run to left center to halve the Ephs' deficit. Mapes drew a walk, Duncan lined a hard single to right and, after the second out, Margo Beck walked to load the bases for senior Martinez. The second baseman came through, crushing a ball to left that dropped over the fence for a grand slam home run and a 5-2 Williams lead.
Whitewater rallied however, scoring twice in the fourth and once in the fifth to tie the game 5-5. The Ephs answered with the decisive rally in the top of the sixth. It began when pinch-hitter Casey Pelz drew a lead-off walk. Alvarado re-entered to run for her. Kim dropped a sacrifice bunt to third that advanced Alvarado to second and Curt followed with a long blast to left-center that hit off the top of the fence for an RBI-double and a 6-5 lead. Mapes then hit a sizzling grounder to the shortstop hole that was deflected but not stopped, allowing Curt to score and Mapes to reach second. Duncan's RBI-single scored Mapes for the 8-5 lead.
Duncan improved to 4-0 with the win, allowing seven hits and five runs, only three earned, over seven frames. She walked three and struck out five. Martinez was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI for the Ephs, while Mapes was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Curt and Duncan were both 2 for 4.
The defensive play of the game for Williams came in the bottom of the third. Whitewater's Molly Klotz ripped a double into the right center field gap. Alvarado raced over to the ball and delivered a throw to the cut-off, Martinez, who then delivered a perfect strike to Salvo at third in time to tag out Klotz on a bang-bang play.