Baseball Notebook: SLIAC West Division Opponents on Deck

Photo courtesy of LeAnthony Reasnover.
Photo courtesy of LeAnthony Reasnover.

 

EUREKA, Ill. – Following a non-conference win on Monday that ended a seven-game skid, the Eureka College baseball team will play four contests against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division opponents this week, beginning Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

ABOUT EUREKA

Through 24 games, Eureka is 5-19 overall and 2-9 against conference opponents.

Ray Vogel (.306), Grant Mullin (.298) and Jake Carter (.273) pace an offense that has a team average of .220 over 674 at bats. Vogel's .611 slugging percentage ranks ninth among SLIAC hitters.

The Red Devils have received 10.0 innings or more on the mound from nine different players. Freshman Brady Sevier owns two wins and a 3.10 ERA over 20.1 innings. The Pekin, Ill. native strikes out 12.39 hitters per nine innings.

Eureka dropped a 14-3 non-conference to Knox last Wednesday. Ray Vogel homered and Kyle Maki had a pair of hits. Eureka continued its longest homestand in more than a decade on Saturday, dropping both games of a SLIAC doubleheader to Greenville at Henry Sand Field.

On Monday, Sevier pitched through the sixth inning and earned the victory in his first collegiate start. Vogel went 3-for-4 to lead the Red Devils' 10-hit outburst, lifting EC to a 9-3 non-conference win over Lincoln Christian at Henry Sand Field.

IOWA WESLEYAN AT EUREKA (Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.)

Eureka will play its 12th consecutive home game Wednesday when Iowa Wesleyan visits Henry Sand Field for the first game of a three-game SLIAC West Division series.

The Tigers own a 9-20 overall record and a 3-11 mark against SLIAC opponents. Wednesday's contest at Henry Sand Field will be IWU's first since a 7-3 loss to in-state foe Cornell in Mount Pleasant.

IWU has struggled offensively this season, ranking at or near the bottom of the league with a .250 batting average, .331 on-base percentage and a .348 slugging percentage. Freshman infielder Jacob Leonard is hitting .301 with a team-high 16 RBI in 28 appearances.

On the mound, no IWU hurler has an ERA better than 5.40. Freshman Ben Deweese (5.06 ERA) and junior Austin Christian (5.44 ERA) have combined to throw nearly half of the Tigers' 222.0 innings in 2017.

The 2017 campaign is Derek Zander's fourth as head coach at IWU. He is a 2011 graduate of Iowa Wesleyan and was a two-year member of the Tigers' baseball program.

The Red Devils own a 4-5 record against the Tigers since the two squads became SLIAC rivals prior to the 2014 season. IWU won two out of three from EC last spring, including both games of a doubleheader at Henry Sand Field on March 29, 2016.

EUREKA AT WEBSTER (Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday DH at 3 p.m.)

The Red Devils will travel to Greater St. Louis this weekend for a three-game West Division series with perennial league powerhouse Webster at GCS Ballpark. The two squads will play a 9-inning game Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and a doubleheader Saturday at 3 p.m. in Sauget, Ill.

Webster is 17-0 overall and 7-2 against the SLIAC. The Gorloks will travel to Elsah, Ill. Tuesday for a doubleheader against Principia.

Senior infielder Matt Wollnik leads WU with a .333 batting average in 26 starts. The Gorloks have a .249 team average.

Much of the Gorloks' success has come from their dominant pitching staff. The WU staff has combined for a league-best 3.02 ERA. Junior Josh Fleming has allowed only three earned runs over 55.2 innings for a 0.49 ERA. He has struck out 73 batters and walked only 10. Five different Gorloks have sub-4.00 ERAs with at least 22.0 innings of work.

Six-time SLIAC Coach of the Year Bill Kurich is in his 11th season directing the Gorloks. The Wartburg graduate has piloted WU to 10 SLIAC regular-season titles, six SLIAC Tournament crowns, eight NCAA Tournament bids and three appearances at the College World Series (2012, 2013, 2015).

The Gorloks are 29-2 against the Red Devils since 2004 and have won 13 in a row in the series dating back to the 2012 season. Eureka's victories over WU were a 10-7 win at Henry Sand Field on April 5, 2008 and an 11-6 home win on April 23, 2012. EC is 0-15 in games hosted by Webster since 2004.