EUREKA – The Eureka baseball team dropped a pair of St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests against Spalding at Henry Sand Field on Sunday.
The Golden Eagles took the opening game 8-3, then held on 8-6 in a close Game 2.
Game 1: Spalding 8, Eureka 3
Eureka and Spalding had the same amount of hits (7) in the first game of the series on Sunday.
However, the Golden Eagles took advantage of opportunities when the Red Devils faltered in the field or on the mound, and that made the difference.
Spalding took the lead in the second inning with a two-run home run by Michael speck. The following inning, the visitors tallied three runs on a two-run single, a pair of walks and a pair of errors. That made it 5-0 and prompted Eureka starter pitcher Trevor Wingard (Decatur, Ill./Meridian) to exit following the third frame.
The Red Devils got on the board with a two-run single by Austin Davis (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) in the fifth inning to make it a three-run game. It stayed that way until Spalding posted three runs on three hits, two walks and an error in the seventh.
Eureka plated its third and final run on an RBI single by Braden Cox (Washington, Ill./Illini Bluffs/Black Hawk) in the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-3. After that, the home team went down in order in the eighth and left a runner stranded in the ninth.
Cox and Davis both had a pair of hits for the Red Devils, while Karter Hostetler (Morton, Ill./Morton), Lane Marlow (Camp Point, Ill./Central Camp Point/Roosevelt) and Nick Rulevish (Addieville, Ill./Okawville) each had one.
Wingard, a sophomore, allowed five earned runs on two hits and five walks while striking out five. Senior closer Mason Diederich (Washington, Ill./Washington) made an uncharacteristically early appearance in third inning and completed six innings, conceding two earned runs on five hits and two walks while fanning six batters.
Spalding starting pitcher Peyton Hood earned the win after holding EC to two earned runs on five hits an four walks and striking out six. Adam Weining gave up one run on two hits in three innings and recorded the save.
Game 2: Spalding 8, Eureka 6
Eureka was one rally short of earning a doubleheader split on Sunday.
The Red Devils tied the game at 3-3 with a three-run third inning that featured an RBI single by Davis and a two-run base hit by Hostetler.
After Spalding regained the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth, Cox responded with a two-run shot to center. His fifth homer of the season made it a one-run game at 6-5.
Spalding struck again with a run on a double play in the sixth, and sac fly RBI by Cox in the seventh made it one-run game again.
In the eighth, however, Spalding scored their eighth run on a bases-loaded walk. The Red Devils went down in order in the eighth and left a runner stranded in the ninth to end the game.
Leadoff hitter Caleb Wilson (Houma, La./Covington Christian) went 3-for-5 at the plate, recording half of the team's hits in the game.
Starting pitcher Nathan Garard (Gibson City, Ill./Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley) went five innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out four.
Sheldon Guevens (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) and David Throw (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove) each allowed one earned run in 1 and 1 1/3 innings of relief, respectively.
Diederich came on in the eighth and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out two batters. Between the two games, he threw 129 pitches on the day in 7 2/3 innings of work.
The Red Devils (11-9, 4-4 SLIAC) will compete the three-game series with the Golden Eagles (12-9, 4-1) on Monday at 12 p.m. at Henry Sand Field.