PEORIA, Ill. – Eureka College junior first baseman Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) hit a pair of home runs, his second multi-homer game in three days, but the Red Devils' late rally came up just short in a 9-7 defeat at NCAA Division I Bradley, Sunday afternoon in Peoria, Ill.
After Bradley snagged a 1-0 lead after one inning, Vogel pulled the visitors even 1-1 with his first home run of the day, a solo shot to left center in the top of the second inning.
The Braves answered with two more runs in the bottom of the frame and wouldn't trail again. Andy Shadid's RBI single pushed BU to a 2-1 lead before an EC error allowed Bradley's lead to swell to 3-1.
Back-to-back doubles from Andrew Ivelia and Brendan Dougherty highlighted Bradley's four-run fifth inning. Cord Perea-Griffeth made the Red Devils pay for an error in the bottom of the sixth inning when he doubled home a pair of unearned runs for a 9-1 BU lead.
Facing the big deficit, the Red Devils rallied over the final three frames. Freshman Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) drove in a run in the seventh and Vogel clobbered an RBI double in the eighth to trim the BU lead to 9-3.
Consecutive one-out singles by Carter and junior Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley) set the tone for Eureka's final push in the ninth. Carter ultimately scored on a passed ball before Vogel smashed his second home run of the day to left-center field, pulling the visitors within 9-7. With four runs in and the tying run in the on-deck circle, the Braves finally escaped the ninth with a groundout.
Vogel, who hit eight home runs in 190 career at-bats over his first two collegiate seasons, has now hit four long balls in the Red Devils' last three games. He finished 4-for-5 with two home runs, a double, two runs scored and five RBI. Vogel's 2017 slugging percentage of .800 ranks second among SLIAC players. He also ranks second in the league with four home runs.
Smith also had a pair of hits for the Red Devils, who finished the contest with 10 hits as a team.
Five EC pitchers saw action Sunday. Senior right-hander Peter Litwiller (East Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S.) made the start. Brandon Porter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln Way Central H.S.), Kyle Cashdollar (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) and Trenton Hall (Sidell, Ill./Salt Fork H.S.) combined to toss 5.0 innings in relief without allowing an earned run.
The Red Devils will play the middle game of a three-game non-conference road swing on Tuesday when EC visits Knox for a 3 p.m. matchup in Galesburg, Ill.