(Update, 2:36 p.m., Tuesday: This story has been updated to reflect schedule changes)
EUREKA, Ill. – The first four games of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule and a road test at Division I Bradley highlight this week's schedule for the Eureka College baseball team. The Red Devils will host Blackburn Friday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader before Principia visits Henry Sand Field for two contests Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The Red Devils will visit Bradley Sunday at 1 p.m. in nearby Peoria.
The Red Devils enter the week with a 2-7 overall record. The early-season mark includes a seven-game spring trip through the south that featured contests against NCAA Division III powers Millsaps and Belhaven.
Sophomore catcher Grant Mullin is the team's top hitter, putting a .345/.441/.448 line through nine starts behind the plate. He leads the Red Devils with 10 hits, three doubles, six RBI and 13 total bases. Junior shortstop Evan Smith is next with a .320 mark, followed by freshman Jake Carter at .280. The Red Devils are hitting .262 as a team.
Newcomer Isaiah Taylor has logged a sparkling 1.74 ERA through his first two starts. Taylor has struck out 11 batters in 10.1 innings. Braden Mann and Kyle Cashdollar own EC's two pitching victories. The Red Devils have a team ERA of 6.64 through the season's first 62.1 innings.
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
Eureka hosted its home opener on Saturday in a non-conference doubleheader with Robert Morris-Springfield. Eureka scored six times in the first three innings of the opener to set the tone for an 8-3 victory over the Eagles. RMU recovered for a 6-5 win in game two to salvage a Saturday split.
Eureka starter Isaiah Taylor went 4.1 innings, yielding two earned runs and striking out five. Kyle Cashdollar earned his first collegiate win in relief. Freshman reliever Brady Sevier finished off the Eagles with 2.0 scoreless innings.
The game-one victory marked Eureka's first win in a home opener since 2014 and the Red Devils' largest margin of victory in a home opener since beating Illinois College 10-2 on March 18, 2010.
In game two, Kyle Maki was 3-for-4 with a double. Mullin and Nace also collected a pair of hits.
Sophomore right-hander Jake Miller went the distance for the Red Devils on the mound. He threw 89 pitches and walked none. All six RMU runs were unearned.
BLACKBURN AT EUREKA (Friday DH at 2 p.m.)
Blackburn will bring a 1-9 record into Friday's doubleheader at Henry Sand Field. The Beavers' lone victory was a 16-6 triumph in the season opener versus Carroll on March 4.
Freshman A.J. Gill is BC's top hitter with a .333 (10-for-30) batting average. The Beavers rank last in the SLIAC with a .215 team batting average, a .314 on-base percentage and a .274 slugging percentage.
The Blackburn pitching staff has a SLIAC-worst 11.54 ERA. Ten different Beavers have made an appearance through the first 10 games. Sophomore left-hander Jonathan Stepp has put up a 5.60 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 17.2 innings.
Mike Neal is in his 19th season as head coach at Blackburn. The 1989 Illinois Wesleyan graduate is the winningest coach in BC athletics history. Neal has guided the Beavers to four SLIAC Tournament appearances and the 2002 SLIAC regular-season title.
Eureka and Blackburn have played 35 times since 2001. The Beavers lead the series, 27-8, and have won 11 out of 15 matchups at Henry Sand Field.
Since the Red Devils swept a three-game series from BC in 2010, Blackburn has won 14 of the last 17 meetings. The Beavers swept a doubleheader from EC last season in Carlinville.
Eureka will open its 11th SLIAC schedule on Friday. The Red Devils are 1-9 in the 10 previous conference openers.
The Red Devils' lone 1-0 start to league play came in 2009, a 9-6 win over MacMurray in Jacksonville.
PRINCIPIA AT EUREKA (Saturday DH at 1 p.m.)
The Panthers are 5-4 through their first nine games, including a 1-0 SLIAC mark thanks to a 6-5 win over MacMurray on March 3. PC is scheduled to play D'Youville (N.Y.) three times and Crown (Minn.) this week on its spring trip to Auburndale, Fla. before visiting Eureka this weekend.
Junior Ed Bargmann has crushed opposing pitching through his first nine appearances, going 14-for-29 (.483) to lead the PC attack. The Panthers are slashing .299/.380/.406 as a team.
Senior Sawyer Grow (2-0, 2.41 ERA), sophomore Alex Stamos (2.70 ERA, 2 CG) and junior Jake Kearney (12.0 IP) have handled the bulk of the pitching duties. PC owns a team ERA of 6.51.
The 2017 campaign is Chris Marston's second as head coach at Principia. He guided the Panthers to a 9-28 record in his first season. Marston served as pitching coach at PC during the Panthers' 20-win season in 2011.
The Red Devils own a 16-11 record in 27 contests against Principia since becoming SLIAC rivals prior to the 2007 season. EC owns an 8-3 mark against the Panthers at Henry Sand Field.
Eureka and Principia split last season's doubleheader in Elsah. The Red Devils have won nine of the last 13 versus PC since April 20, 2012.
EUREKA AT BRADLEY (Sunday at 2 p.m.)
Bradley is 6-11 this season, owning wins over Texas A&M Corpus Christi (twice), Tennessee Tech, Cornell (Iowa) and North Florida. BU will visit Iowa on Wednesday and host Robert Morris-Peoria in a two-game series Friday and Saturday before welcoming the Red Devils on Sunday.
Three BU regulars hit better than .300, led by Luke Mangieri's .391 mark. Bradley has a .279 team average and has smashed 18 home runs through the season's first 17 games.
Cole Cook leads a Bradley pitching staff with a 7.35 team ERA. Cook has made six of seven appearances in relief and boasts a team-best ERA of 2.08. Ben Olson has made five starts and struck out 18 batters in 25.2 innings.
Elvis Dominguez, the 15th head coach in Bradley baseball history, is in his ninth season directing the Braves. Dominguez guided Bradley to the 2015 NCAA Tournament and its first postseason victory since 1956.
Bradley has won 25 out of 26 contests in the all-time series dating back to 1921. Eureka's lone victory over the Braves was a 6-4 triumph on May 28, 1931.
The Red Devils and Braves have met three times since 2011 at Bradley's Dozer Park in downtown Peoria. BU has won all three contests, including a 10-6 victory in the most recent meeting on May 7, 2013.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
The Red Devils are hitting .571 (12-for-21) this season with the bases loaded … Grant Mullin is 8-for-16 this season with runners on base and 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position … Kyle Maki is 5-for-10 with four runs scored during an active three-game hit streak … Isaiah Taylor is limiting opposing batters to a .190 average (4-for-21) with runners on base and an .091 average (1-for-11) with two outs in an inning.