GALESBURG, Ill. – Eureka College freshman right-hander Braden Mann (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) limited Knox to one earned run over 7.1 innings in his third career start, but a ninth-inning rally from the Red Devils wasn't enough in a 2-1 non-conference defeat at Knox, Tuesday afternoon.
Knox scratched across an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning when a failed double play turn allowed Tristyn Ruiz to score for a 1-0 advantage. The Prairie Fire doubled its lead in the fourth when Ruiz coaxed a two-out, bases-loaded walk from Mann.
The Red Devils didn't get their first baserunner until the fourth inning, but had a handful of chances against a collection of five KC hurlers. The Red Devils put a runner on third base with less than two outs in the fourth and sixth innings, but could not push a run across.
Eureka's final rally in the ninth inning ultimately fell short. Even Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley)coaxed a leadoff walk, followed by a single from Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) and a fielder's choice for Kyle Maki (Virginia, Ill./Virginia H.S./Mesabi Range) to load the bases with nobody out. Smith eventually scored on a ground-ball double play to trim the EC deficit to 2-1, but Knox reliever Tom Janczur induced a fly out to end the game and strand the tying run at third base.
Mann scattered nine KC hits over 7.1 innings. He struck out three and walked only one. Freshman Brady Sevier (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) got the final two outs in the eighth inning without incident.
Carter and Smith logged two hits apiece from the top two spots in the EC lineup. The Red Devils were limited to five hits for the game.
Eureka will play the final leg of a three-game non-conference road swing Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Lincoln Christian.