Updated Tuesday, April 4 at 2:29 p.m.: This story has been edited to reflect Wednesday's doubleheader against MacMurray being postponed and rescheduled for Monday, April 24.
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College baseball team will four six St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests this week, part of a season-long 14-game homestand. Weather permitting, the Red Devils will host doubleheaders against Principia at 2 p.m. on Friday and Spalding at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Red Devils are 4-12 overall and 2-3 against SLIAC opponents. The Red Devils will be in search of back-to-back SLIAC wins for the first time since April 2014 after rallying to defeat Fontbonne on Sunday, 6-5.
Eureka dropped a 2-1 non-conference decision at Knox last Tuesday. Eureka freshman right-hander Braden Mann limited the Prairie Fire 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.
The Red Devils dropped two of three SLIAC West Division contest to Fontbonne over the weekend at Henry Sand Field. In Saturday's doubleheader, Eureka junior left-hander Isaiah Taylor earned his second consecutive quality start on the mound and junior designated hitter Ray Vogel smashed his fifth home run of the season, but Fontbonne earned a 3-0 win in game one and a 10-5 triumph in game two.
EC salvaged the series finale on Sunday when sophomore catcher Grant Mullin 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 win.
Last Thursday's non-conference road contest at Lincoln Christian was rained out. A makeup date has not been announced.
Through 16 games, Mullin leads the EC offense with a .302 average (16-for-53). Vogel has also been an offensive force, hitting .300 and leading the Red Devils with five home runs and 15 RBI. Freshman Jake Carter has coaxed 11 walks to lead the Red Devils with a .469 on-base percentage. Eureka is hitting .225/.343/.315 as a team.
Junior left-hander Isaiah Taylor owns a 1-1 record and a 2.74 ERA in four starts. The Illinois Valley transfer has thrown 23.0 innings, striking out 18 and limiting opposing hitters to a .212 batting average.
In the bullpen, freshmen Brandon Porter (1.17 ERA, 7.2 IP) and Brady Sevier (2.03 ERA, 13.1 IP) have kept opposing hitters in check. Sevier earned his first career win in Sunday's come-from-behind victory over Fontbonne.
The EC pitching staff has combined for 5.75 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 120.1 innings of work.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
Ray Vogel is hitting .333/.400/.889 with three home runs and six RBI in 20 SLIAC plate appearances … Overall, Vogel leads the Red Devils with five 2-out RBI … Grant Mullin is 12-for-30 (.400) with runners on base and 8-for-17 (.471) with runners in scoring position … Jake Carter leads the Red Devils with a 53.3 success rate (8-for-15) reaching as the leadoff batter in an inning ... The fifth spot in the Eureka batting order, highlighted by 14 starts between Ray Vogel and Evan Smith, has put up a .302/.393/.585 line in 53 total at-bats.
Brady Sevier hasn't allowed an earned run and is striking out 13.5 hitters per nine innings in 5.0 innings of work against SLIAC hitters … Overall, Sevier is also limiting opposing hitters to a .195 average (8-for-41) with runners on base … Opposing hitters are 9-for-46 (.196) with the bases empty and 9-for-39 (.231) with runners on base against EC left-hander Isaiah Taylor.
PRINCIPIA AT EUREKA (Friday DH, 2 p.m.)
After the initially scheduled doubleheader was rained out last month, Eureka will host Principia on Friday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Henry Sand Field. The Panthers, who are scheduled to host Iowa Wesleyan in a doubleheader Tuesday in Elsah, Ill., enter the week with a 10-5 overall record and own first place in the SLIAC East Division with a 1-0 record.
The Panthers' deploy one of the league's best offense, ranking second with a .311 batting average, third with a .382 on-base percentage and third with a .420 slugging percentage. Junior Ed Bargmann is 23-for-53 (.434) to lead the attack, while senior Connor Coyne has a team-best three home runs and a .333 average.
Three PC pitchers – Alex Stamos, Sawyer Grow and Jake Kearney – have combined to throw more than half of the Panthers' 109.0 innings in 2017. Stamos (1.82 ERA) and Grow (1.57 ERA) have combined to allow only 11 earned runs over 58.1 innings, anchoring a staff that has a 5.20 ERA as a team.
The 2017 campaign is Chris Marston's second as head coach at Principia. He guided the Panthers to a 9-28 record in his first season. Marston served as pitching coach at PC during the Panthers' 20-win season in 2011.
The Red Devils lead the SLIAC series with the Panthers, 16-11, and have won nine of the last 13 overall. At Henry Sand Field, EC has won eight of 11 games in the series. The two squads split last season's twin bill in Elsah on April 28, 2016.
SPALDING AT EUREKA (Saturday DH, 2 p.m.)
Eureka is scheduled to close the week with a 2 p.m. twin bill against perennial league power Spalding on Saturday at Henry Sand Field. As of April 3, the Golden Eagles are 16-7 overall and 6-1 in conference action behind doubleheader sweeps of Iowa Wesleyan and Westminster over the previous two weekends.
The Golden Eagles have a team batting average of .298 and have drawn 89 walks to lead the SLIAC with a .393 on-base percentage. SU also leads the league with 148 runs, 220 hits, 16 home runs and 130 RBI. Six different players have logged at least 66 at-bats, all of which have a batting average at .303 or better. Junior outfielder Jeff Thompson leads the group with a .348/.437/.551 line.
The SU pitching corps has combined for a 4.15 ERA over 190.2 innings of work. Junior Jimi Keating has been dominant for the Golden Eagles, posting a 7-0 record, 1.33 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 54.0 innings over eight starts.
Louisville native and 2012 Spalding graduate Matt Downs is in his second season as head coach of the Golden Eagles. He previously served as an assistant coach at Spalding and NCAA Division III Centre (Ky.).
Eureka and Spalding have played 21 times since the Golden Eagles joined the SLIAC in 2010. SU leads the series, 17-4, and is 8-2 in contests played at Henry Sand Field.
SU has won six in a row in the series and swept last season's doubleheader in Louisville, Ky. on April 2, 2016. Eureka's last win over the Golden Eagles was a 7-5 decision on March 29, 2014.