The Carthage softball team picked the perfect time for a huge upset Wednesday morning.
And in the process, the Reds also secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Tournament.
In the first of two games played at the Rosemont Dome in Rosemont, Ill., because of inclement weather, the Reds handed sixth-ranked Illinois Wesleyan its first CCIW setback of the season with an 8-0, five-inning victory.
Wesleyan bounced back to salvage a split in Game 2 with a single run in the bottom of the first that it made stand up in a 1-0 victory.
The opening game turned on a seven-run second inning by Carthage that gave it a lead it would never relinquish.
Carthage (24-12, 10-6) got on the scoreboard on a double by Kelsey Domagala, followed by a run-scoring single by Madison Kern.
After a Wesleyan error plated two more runs, Bradford graduate Ellie Bernero delivered a two-run single up the middle to push the lead to 6-0. Domagala added her second RBI hit of the frame to close out the seven-run outburst.
Carthage tacked on an insurance run in the third on a fielder’s choice by Naomi Alonzo.
Domagala led Carthage with three hits and two RBI, followed by Brooke Sefcik with two hits and a run scored.
Starting pitcher Stefanie Guercio improved to 16-4, as she allowed just two hits, two walks and struck out six in five innings of work.
In Game 2, the Reds enjoyed a 7-6 advantage in hits, but couldn’t scrape together a run off the Wesleyan pitching duo of starter Madie Monk and reliever Ally Wiegand.
Danielle Koziczkowski and Alonzo each had two hits to lead Carthage. Starting pitcher Madison Kern took the loss, as she allowed six hits, an earned run and a walk in six innings.
Up next for Carthage is a matchup Friday at 11 a.m. at Wesleyan against third-seeded North Central. The other game featured fourth-seeded Wheaton and top-seeded Wesleyan at 1 p.m.
The tournament title contest is Saturday at a time yet to be announced.
Visiting Benedictine put five runs on the scoreboard in the fifth inning to send the Red Men to the loss in their final home game of the spring.
Carthage tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning on a double by Ricky Bergstrom that chased home Luke Beckmann. Evan Wieringa accounted for the final run with an RBI single in the eighth that drove in Myles Farley.
Relief pitcher Owen Reith took the loss, as he allowed five hits and five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Carthage (17-20, 7-14) closes its season this weekend with a three-game road series at Illinois Wesleyan, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The teams also will play a doubleheader Saturday at noon.