Red Devils Notch SLIAC Road Sweep at Blackburn

Red Devils Notch SLIAC Road Sweep at Blackburn

CARLINVILLE, Ill. -- Jared Smith (Henry, Ill./Henry-Senachwine/Illinois Valley) limited Blackburn to one run over 6.0 innings in game one and Jimmy Peterson (Bloomington,Ill./Monmouth) broke out for four hits and four RBI in the nightcap, lifting Eureka to a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of Blackburn, Wednesday afternoon in Carlinville, Ill.

Wednesday's contests were the final two games on the 2021 regular-season schedule. The sweep was Eureka's first since taking two from Knox at Henry Sand Field on May 5, 2019, and its first league sweep since erasing MacMurray twice in Jacksonville, Ill. on May 1, 2019.

Game 1: Eureka 7, Blackburn 6

Smith scattered five hits and five walks over 6.0 innings of work, as Eureka never trailed in earning its first true road win of the season. Braden Cross (Clinton, Ill./Clinton) and Austin Davis (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) collected two hits apiece to pace the Red Devils' offense that produced nine hits, all singles.

The Red Devils grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to a bases-loaded walk to Jelby Cheramie (Lockport, La./South Laforche) and a run-scoring single from Peterson. The lead swelled to 3-0 one inning later when Davis singled to score Cross.

Another single run in the top of the fifth made it 4-0 on Cross's hit that plated Alex Barney (Sheldon, Ill./Milford). The Beavers avoided Smith's shutout bid in the home half of the sixth inning Johnny Gardner coaxed a two-out walk and scored one batter later on Antonio Massengill's double.

Eureka took advantage of a BC defensie miscue in the seventh for what proved to be much-needed insurance. Davis was credited with two RBI when his batted ball was misplayed in the Blackburn infield and Cheramie followed with an RBI single for a 7-1 cushion.

The Eureka bullpen successfully completed its high-wire act in the bottom of the final frame. The first five Beavers reached base, including run-scoring hits from Blaine Dunning and Gage Hemmann. An RBI groundout and a sac fly closed the gap to 7-6 before Barney slammed the door with the tying run at the plate, inducing a Trevor Platt flyout to end the contest.

Game 2: Eureka 12, Blackburn 2 (7 inn.)

The visitors rolled in the finale, overcoming an early 1-0 hole with a six-run second inning. Peterson went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBI out of the leadoff slot, while Cross, Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora) and Tate Stone (Washington, Ill./Washington) added multi-hit performances. 

Cluskey went the distance on the mound, allowing only two runs over 7.0 innings to secure his fourth career complete game and his 11th career victory.

Stone, Davis and Cross stroked RBI singles in the Red Devils' second-inning outburst before a big error in the BC outfield allowed Cluskey's double to score three runs, including Cluskey, who scored on the play after an aggressive send from head coach Jerry Rashid and an acrobatic lunge at the plate out of the reach of the catcher.

The Red Devils effectively put the contest out of reach with four more runs in the third inning. The big blow of the frame was a bases-loaded Triple from Peterson, who scored one batter later on Davis's sacrifice fly and the lead was 10-1.

Another run-scoring hit by Peterson in the top of the seventh put the Red Devils on top 12-2 and put the 10-run rule in play. Cluskey maneuvered around a pair of singles in the bottom half of the frame and the contest was over.

Eureka will now have seven days off prior to the start of the SLIAC Tournament, scheduled to begin Thursday, May 13 in O'Fallon, Mo.