EUREKA, Ill. -- Anchored by the top slugging offense in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Spalding won both games of a league doubleheader against Eureka College on Saturday at Henry Sand Field. The Golden Eagles overcame a sluggish start to win game one, 12-1, before earning a 20-2 victory over the Red Devils in the nightcap.
The Red Devils took advantage of shaky Spalding defense to grab a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Junior right fielder Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and ultimately scored on a throwing error in the SU infield.
The visitors promptly recovered, forcing a 1-1 tie in the second inning on Matt Harper's RBI single. The score remained 1-1 until the Golden Eagles erupted for six runs in the top of the third inning. Blake Patterson gave SU the lead for good, 3-1, on a two-run double into the left-center field gap. Dillon Sievert and Harper added home runs later in the frame.
SU scored five more times in the fourth to put the contest out of reach. Kam Bruner delivered the inning's biggest hit, a two-run home run over the left-field fence.
Spalding starter Cole Slamko worked around the unearned run in the first inning to keep the Red Devils off balance throughout the opener. He yielded only two hits, walked four and struck out seven to earn the complete-game win.
Eureka sophomore reliever Josh Mead (Tampico, Ill./Bureau Valley H.S.) was solid in relief, firing 3.0 innings without allowing an earned run. Senior Peter Litwiller (East Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S.) also fired 1.0 scoreless inning of relief in game one.
The Golden Eagles struck early an often in game two. SU sent 15 hitters to the plate in the top of the first inning, part of a 12-run blitz for a big advantage. Harper, Ian Woodall and C.J. Phillips each homered during the first-inning outburst.
Back-to-back doubles from freshman Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) and Vogel got the Red Devils on the board in the fifth inning. Sophomore Max Marcoux (Jennings County, Ind./Jennings County H.S.) doubled and scored in the seventh, but the offense wasn't enough to close the gap.
Freshman outfielder Braxton Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) had a pair of hits, including a third-inning double, to pace Eureka's nine-hit attack in game two. Eight different Red Devils hit safely in the loss.
Up next for the Red Devils is a 3:30 p.m. non-conference start versus Knox on Wednesday at Henry Sand Field.