Iowa Wesleyan Claims SLIAC Slugfest From Eureka, 14-10

Photo courtesy of LeAnthony Reasnover.
Photo courtesy of LeAnthony Reasnover.

EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College baseball team scored 10 runs in a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game for the first time in more than two years, but visiting Iowa Wesleyan used three big innings to secure a 14-10 West Division victory over the Red Devils, Wednesday afternoon at Henry Sand Field.

The Red Devils fell behind 1-0, but took their first lead of the game thanks to a three-run third inning. Junior shortstop Ethan Gates (Batavia, Ill./Batavia H.S./Waubonsee) tied the game at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly before sophomore catcher Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) pushed the Red Devils in front with a run-scoring double into the right-center field gap. Mullin scored on a wild pitch later in the inning and the EC lead was 3-1.

The Tigers regained the lead in the fourth when EC misplayed a sacrifice bunt from Josh Sanchez. The miscue allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score, part of a four-run inning. The Red Devils answered again in the fifth, moving in front 6-5 on a two-run single by junior first baseman Kyle Maki (Virginia, Minn./Virginia H.S./Mesabi Range) that drove IWU starter Everett Swinson from the contest.

Eureka's advantage would be short-lived. The visitors scored six runs on four hits in the sixth, including a two-run home run from Matt Murphy. EC trailed 11-6 at the end of the rally, but pulled back within three on Gates's first home run in a Eureka uniform in the bottom of the sixth.

IWU added three more runs of insurance in the eighth. An RBI single from Eureka left fielder Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) made the EC deficit 14-10 and brought the tying run into the on-deck circle in the bottom of the inning, but IWU reliever Russell Culbertson didn't allow a run over the final 1.1 innings to lock down the Tigers' league win.

Eureka's 10-run outburst was its highest in a league contest since beating the same IWU squad 13-5 on April 4, 2015.

Mullin finished with three of Eureka's 17 hits. Gates, Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.), Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley), Isaiah Taylor (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S./Illinois Valley) and Ary each recorded two hits. Freshman Kyle Cashdollar (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) threw 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.

Eureka is scheduled to begin a three-game series against SLIAC West Division rival Webster on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.