The Eastern softball team needed a win Monday over Murray State to avoid a conference sweep. having lost to the Racers twice on Sunday.
Behind the pitching of Jade Montgomery and the bat of shortstop Megan Burton, the Panthers won 4-0.
They are now back to .500 in conference play with a record of 12-12 and are in seventh place in the OVC.
Murray State fell to 16-12 in conference play and are in fifth place in the standings.
With the pair of losses in Sunday’s doubleheader, Eastern fell to 1-6 in its last seven conference games.
The Panthers lost the first game 6-1 and the second 2-1, with solo home runs in each game accounting for all of Eastern’s runs.
Although the home runs did not factor into the outcome of the games, they were both significant.
The first home run, hit by catcher Amber Cieplinski, was the 44th home run for the Panthers this season, which tied the program’s single-season record.
It was Cieplinski’s fifth home run of the season.
Burton went deep in the second game to set a new single-season home run for the Panthers.
It was Burton’s 15th home run of the season, extending her individual single-season home record. She broke the previous mark of 12 on April 17.
In Monday’s game, Abby Stahlhut drove in a run with a double in the second inning before Burton homered yet again an inning later.
It was a 2-run home run that extended Eastern’s lead to 3-0.
Aniya Holt singled in a run in the fourth, and that was all the offense that Eastern starter Jade Montgomery needed on the afternoon.
She retired 10 Racers in a row to begin the game before a fourth inning single broke up the potential no-hitter.
She allowed a leadoff single in the sixth inning as well, but that was all Murray State would get.
Montgomery pitched 7 innings, allowing just the pair of hits with no walks and 2 strikeouts.
The defense was solid behind her, recording 13 outs on ground balls and six on fly balls.
Montgomery improved to 8-11 with the win.
Eastern will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon for a midweek, conference doubleheader against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The games will start at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. from Williams Field.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]