EUREKA – On the nicest day of the season so far, the Eureka baseball team battled Fontbonne to another St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference split at Henry Sand Field.
The Griffins took a 5-0 showdown between the teams' top starting pitchers in the opener, and the Red Devils' batters ruled in an 11-5 slugfest that followed.
Last week, the Red Devils split a pair at home with Iowa Wesleyan before concluding the series with an empathic victory in the rubber game.
On Sunday, they'll look to do it again. If the weather holds, the series finale will take place at 12 p.m. at Henry Sand Field.
Eureka is now 7-11 on the season and 3-5 in the SLIAC. Fontbonne is 15-7 and 2-4.
Game 1: Fontbonne 5, Eureka 0
Fontbonne ace Luke Summers delivered an 11-strikeout, complete-game victory to start off the series. The junior right-hander held Eureka to four hits and one walk in 96 pitches over seven innings.
His counterpart, EC freshman J.D. Theile (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community), also had a quality performance, only conceding four runs on five hits and two walks, and striking out five in 6 2/3 innings on the mound.
The Griffins plated three runs off two hits, a walk and a hit batsman in the second and held on to that same lead until adding two more in the seventh.
Game 2: Eureka 11, Fontbonne 5
After struggling to get on base and manufacture runs in Game 1, the Red Devils threatened to run-rule Fontbonne in Game 2.
Eureka racked up seven runs on seven hits in the second inning, chasing Fontbonne starting pitcher Alex Phillips out of the game early.
Then, in the fifth, senior Joe Quinn (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) smashed a solo shot to right field, and in the sixth, EC extended the lead to 11 runs after an RBI groundout by Harlan and a homer to left-center by Moir.
If they could have limited Fontbonne to one run or fewer in the seventh, it would have ended the day early. But instead, a three-run homer by Matt Manint kept it going. A homer by Michael Puckett in the eighth and a final run in the ninth made it a six-run game, and it stayed that way.
Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora) earned the win on the hill for the Red Devils, limiting the Griffins to four runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. The sophomore struck out six, walked two and improved to 4-1 on the season.
Mason Diderich (Washington, Ill./Washington) struck out three and gave up one run in the last 1 2/3 innings to close it out.
Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone), Moir and Quinn all had multi-hit games for the Red Devils, who tallied 10 hits overall.
Moir hit a team-best 4-for-6 with 3 RBIs and a walk on the day.