EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College sophomore catcher Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) forced extra innings with his first collegiate home run in the ninth inning and followed with a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the bottom of the 10th to vault the Red Devils to a 6-5 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Fontbonne in the finale of a three-game West Division series, Sunday morning at Henry Sand Field.
Trailing 5-2 in the ninth, the Red Devils rallied behind a single from freshman outfielder Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) and a walk to freshman second baseman Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.). Mullin followed with the decisive blow of the inning, a three-run bomb over the left-field fence to force a 5-5 tie. The long ball was the first of Mullin's 46-game EC career.
After EC freshman reliever Brady Sevier (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) worked his third straight scoreless inning in the top of the 10th, the Red Devils loaded the bases behind a Kyle Maki (Virginia, Ill./Virginia H.S./Mesabi Range) single and back-to-back walks from Ary and Carter. Mullin ultimately watched Drew Tayon's 3-1 delivery skip into the dirt, allowing Maki to score and the Red Devils to walk off with their second league victory of the season.
The Griffins controlled most of Sunday's contest, building a 5-0 lead through the first four and a half innings. The first four FU runs were unearned, including run-scoring hits from Matt Tossick and Ethan Boyer as part of a three-run fourth inning.
Eureka got on the board a pair of runs in the fifth. Mullin's bouncing ball up the middle was misplayed in the Fontbonne infield, allowing two runs to score for a 5-2 EC deficit. Fontbonne carried the 5-2 cushion into the ninth before EC's rally.
Mullin finished the day 2-for-4 with five RBI and a pair of walks. Maki came off the bench to go 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Ary also scored twice.
Sevier collected his first collegiate victory, striking out five and keeping the Griffins off the board over the final 3.0 innings. The right-hander threw 50 pitches Sunday and hasn't allowed an earned run over his last five appearances and 8.0 innings, lowering his season ERA to 2.03. The EC bullpen trio of freshman Brandon Porter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln Way Central H.S.), sophomore Josh Mead (Tampico, Ill./Bureau Valley H.S.) and Sevier combined to throw the final 5.0 innings Sunday without allowing a run.
Eureka will continue SLIAC play Wednesday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader versus MacMurray at Henry Sand Field.