HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. – The Eureka College baseball team erupted for 27 runs in Sunday's season opener, including a 16-run seventh inning, to defeat NCAA Division III independent Rust 27-1 in Holly Springs, Miss. The 27 runs scored and 26-run margin of victory were the largest on record in program history.
Eureka's previous modern-era record for runs scored was set in a 23-11 victory over Beloit on March 26, 2000. Sunday's win was Eureka's first in a season opener since beating then-non-conference opponent Fontbonne 3-2 on March 9, 2000.
Additionally, Eureka sophomore catcher Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita H.S.) and freshman designated hitter Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) each collected three hits in the Red Devils' 16-run seventh inning to tie an NCAA Division III record for hits an inning. Counting Mullin and Carter, only 14 players in Division III history have recorded three hits an inning, and Mullin and Carter are the first set of teammates to do it since three William Patterson players achieved the feat versus Scranton on May 4, 1983.
The Red Devils scored twice in the first inning Sunday and never looked back. Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) scored the first run of the day after reaching on an error and later scoring on a passed ball.
EC scored two in the first, three in the third, four in the fifth and two in the sixth before exploding for the 16-run seventh inning. The Red Devils sent 22 batters to the plate in the frame, collecting 11 hits and taking advantage of two RC errors.
Right-hander Braden Mann (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) was sharp in his first appearance for the Red Devils. He earned the victory, firing 5.0 scoreless innings and striking out four.
Eight of Eureka's nine starters collected at least one hit and all nine players drove in at least one run. Only two of the Red Devils' 19 hits went for extra bases. Junior Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S.) had four of EC's nine stolen bases for the afternoon.
The Red Devils and Bearcats were scheduled to finish their three-game series with a Monday doubleheader in Holly Springs, but the games have been canceled. Eureka will continue its season-opening spring trip on Tuesday at 4 p.m. CST against Belhaven in Jackson, Miss.