Red Devils Fall Short Against Elmhurst, Illinois Tech

Photo by Blake Baxter.
Photo by Blake Baxter.

JACKSONVILE, Ill. – The Eureka baseball team came out on the wrong side of a pair of tough non-conference contests on Sunday.

Elmhurst took down the Red Devils 15-5 in seven innings in the first game of the day at Future Champions Sports Complex, Then, Illinois Tech barely held off Eureka in a back-and-forth Game 2, 10-9.

Game 1: Elmhurst 15, Eureka 5 (7 inn.)

With the winding howling, Elmhurst swung away early and often on Sunday morning.

The Blue Jays racked up 15 hits on 17 runs, notching a grand slam during a six-run first inning that put EC in an early hole.

By the Red Devils finally got on the board in the bottom of the third, they were down nine runs.

Jimmy Peterson (Bloomington, Ill./Homeschooled/Monmouth) drove in EC's first run with an RBI single with two on. After advancing on a passed ball, he came home on an RBI ground-out by Braden Cox (Washington, Ill./Illini Bluffs/Black Hawk). Karter Hostetler (Morton, Ill./Morton) followed that with an RBI double to center.

Lane Marlow (Camp Point, Ill./Camp Point Central/Roosevelt) got hit by a pitch to keep the inning going, but a strikeout ended it with two on.

In the bottom of the fourth, Eureka tallied two more to make it 10-5. David Hidden (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) drove in the first on an RBI single with two on. After a pitching change, Cox knocked a sac fly RBI to left.

That ended up being the Red Devils' last run of the game. Elmhurst homered twice – a 3-run blast and a solo shot – in the fifth and added their 15th and final run on a bases-loaded walk the following inning.

Eureka only managed six hits in Game 1. Hostetler went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Cox doubled, and Hidden, Peterson, and Dylan Hill (Steeleville, Ill./Steeleville) each contributed a single.

Elmhurst tallied 11 extra-base hits. Freddie March homered twice, Paul Fomby went yard once. Jesse James recorded a triple and three doubles, Drew Raspolich recorded a triple and two doubles, and Trey Romay contributed a double, as well.

Game 2: Illinois Tech 10, Eureka 9

The Red Devils had the upper hand over Illinois Tech early, and after losing it midway through the game, they had a chance to get it back late. It just didn't come together.

Leading 6-4 through 5 1/2 innings, the Red Devils saw their advantage slip away when the Scarlet Hawks scored two in the sixth and tallied four more in the eighth.

The Red Devils entered the ninth inning needing four runs to keep their hopes alive. They ended up falling one run short.

Hostetler led the inning off with a single and Hill followed with one of his own to put two runners on with no outs. They advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch before the Scarlet Hawks recorded their first out with a strikeout.

After that, Nick Rulevish (Addieville, Ill./Okawville) dropped a bloop double into right center to score Hostelter and make it 10-7. Illinois Tech responded with a strikeout, bringing up leadoff hitter Caleb Wilson (Houma, La./Covington Christian).

With two on, two out and the count full, Wilson drew a walk to load the bases for Hidden. The freshman from East Peoria promptly came through with a single through the left side to make it a two-run game and put the go-ahead run on first.

Peterson was up next, and he successfully found the same gap that Wilson did on the left side. Rulevish scored and Wilson rounded third as the left fielder picked up the ball and gunned it home. The throw was right on the money and Wilson was tagged out before he could tie the game.

The Red Devils outhit Illinois Tech 15-10 in a losing effort.

Hill and Hidden both went 3-for-4 on the day. Hidden drove in the first run of the game in the first inning, and a few batters later, Hill drove in two more to make it 3-0.

Hidden's RBI sacrifice fly in the second inning extended the lead to four runs in the top of the second. Illinois Tech came back with three runs on two hits and an error in the bottom half.

In the third, Hill launched his first home run of the season – a two-run shot that made it 6-3.

The Scarlett Hawks got one back in the bottom of the third to make it 6-4, and it stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth. That was when Illinois Tech evened the score with a walk, an error and a two-run single.

After falling behind, the Red Devils had their opportunities to respond. In the seventh, they loaded the bases, but came up empty. In the eighth, they put two on, but hit into a double play.

Rulevish went 3-for-4 and was a home run short of hitting the cycle. He led off with a single in the second, poked his first career triple in the third and produced the aforementioned bloop double in the ninth.

Peterson and Wilson each contributed a pair of hits. Marlow doubled in the fifth and Hostetler contributed the leadoff single in the ninth.

Four Eureka pitchers – Parker Brodine (Brimfield, Ill./Elmwood-Brimfield), Trevor Wingard (Decatur, Ill./Meridian), Nathan Garard (Gibson City, Ill./Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley) and Mason Diederich (Washington, Ill./Washington) – combined for 12 strikeouts.

Brodine, the starting pitcher, threw five innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks while fanning a team-high five batters. Garard recorded the loss after coming on in the seventh and retiring the first four batters he faced, but getting into trouble and conceding three earned runs in the eighth.

Up Next

The Red Devils (7-6) will next open St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play against Blackburn (1-11) at Henry Sand Field on Saturday at 12 p.m.