EUREKA, Ill. – Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Robert Morris-Peoria) scored three runs and fell a double short of the cycle and Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora H.S.) pitched into the ninth inning to secure his third win of the season in the Eureka College baseball team's 7-6 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over MacMurray, Wednesday afternoon. The visitors won game one, 10-2, to split the league twin bill.
The Red Devils are now 14-17-1 overall and finished their 22-game SLIAC schedule with an 8-14 record to earn fourth place in the SLIAC's West Division.
Game 1: MacMurray 10, Eureka 2
Green and Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) had two hits apiece for the EC offense.
Tyler Deaton hit an RBI single for the Highlanders in the top of the first inning before MC broke out for a four-run third inning. Brett Mammenga and Alec Taylor each hit two-run singles as part of the rally.
Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita H.S.) got EC on the board with his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot in the bottom of the third. Green added a two-out RBI single in the fourth, but the visitors scored two in the fourth, two more in the fifth and their 10th run of the game on Mammenga's solo homer in the sixth to break the game open.
Game 2: Eureka 7, MacMurray 6
Cluskey allowed two earned runs on nine hits over 8.1 innings. He struck five and walked only one. With his 2018 campaign likely in the books, Cluskey will finish the 2018 season with a 3.56 ERA and become the first Eureka pitcher of the modern era with at least 1.0 inning pitched per game and a sub-4.00 ERA.
Green was 3-for-4 with a triple and his second home run of the season to drive Eureka's 13-hit effort. Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley) also had a huge game at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI.
The ninth inning included a brief rain shower followed by a 50-minute lightning delay.
Smith's two-out, two-run double in the first inning gave Eureka a 2-0 lead and the Red Devils would never trail in the nightcap. The lead swelled to 4-0 in the third when Thomas Harrison (Bushnell, Ill./Bushnell-Prairie Central H.S.) punched another two-out, two-run double into the right-center field gap.
Green's leadoff home run in the fourth allowed the Eureka lead to reach 5-0 before MacMurray finally answered in the top of the fifth. Brendan Schanz doubled to score a pair of unearned runs and the Highlanders trailed 5-2. Green helped Eureka get one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame, drilling a two-out triple and later scoring on a wild pitch.
After an EC error extended the top of the seventh inning, Schanz clubbed a two-run home run to pull MC within 6-4. The Red Devils responded with a critical insurance run one inning later when Green reached on an error to begin the frame and later scored on Smith's infield single.
Trailing by three in the ninth, MacMurray collected two hits and nearly tied the game on the heels of three walks, two wild pitches and a balk. With two runs already in and the tying and go-ahead runs on the base paths, Eureka reliever Brandon Porter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln Way Central H.S.) induced a foul out and a strikeout to end the game and secure his first collegiate save.
Eureka will bring the 2018 season to a close on Friday in a 2 p.m. non-conference doubleheader against Dominican (Ill.) at Henry Sand Field. The Red Devils and Stars will be meeting on the diamond for the first time since DU swept a twin bill at Henry Sand Field on April 20, 2007.