EUREKA — It's nearly opening day at Henry Sand Field.
And after a couple of weekend road trips, the Eureka baseball team is ready to show its home fans what it can do.
The Red Devils (3-3, 1-2 SLIAC) host Knox (0-0, 0-0 MidwesT) in a non-conference contest at 12 p.m. on Wednesday. They're coming off their first win of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season.
On Sunday, J.D. Theile led the way on the mound, notching a 5-2 complete-game victory over Westminster at Jacksonville. The sophomore lefty limited the Blue Jays to two runs on five hits and just one walk while striking out five in nine strong innings. He is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.13 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.
Prior to that, the Red Devils nearly came back in the middle game of a three-game series on the neutral grounds of Lenz Field, but Westminster ultimately held on, 6-5. Eureka is now 1-2 in SLIAC play and 3-3 on the season through six games.
In the middle game of the series, the Red Devils had another quality pitching performance. Freshman Tucker Sams came on the mound in the second inning when the Red Devils were already trailing and got the team out of a jam. He proceeded to pitch six fine innings in which he only gave up one run on five hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Senior veteran Kyle Cashdollar also delivered for EC, tossing two scoreless innings during a close ballgame. Cashdollar has only allowed two hits and two walks in four innings over three appearances this season.
Junior ace Greg Cluskey is looking to bounce back from a rocky first start of the season in Jackson, Mississippi, allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks in a 12-0 loss to Centenary.
EC coach Jerry Rashid has also largely been pleased with his team's defensive performance in the first two weeks.
The Red Devils have averaged two errors per game thus far, only committing two all day in Sunday's doubleheader. In addition, the team saw a handful of clutch defensive plays over the weekend.
Noah Harlan made an impressive grab while battling the fence in right field late in the 5-2 win. Pitcher Jared Smith fielded a tricky grounder near third, whirled and caught the batter in time to prevent a rally in the first inning during the morning game, and the infield was generally sharp throughout the day, as well.
At the plate, Braxten Ary has been the most consistent Red Devil in the lineup. The senior leads the Red Devils in batting (.391), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging (.478), as well as stolen bases (3) and extra-base hits (along with Jake Carter, with two apiece).
Thirteen Red Devils have recorded hits for the Red Devils, 11 have spent time on the mound and 25 have taken the field. The Red Devil faithful will get a chance to meet all on Wednesday.