ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Eureka College baseball team has been voted to finish fifth in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division, according to an announcement from the league office. Webster was picked to win the West and Greenville was the preseason favorite in the SLIAC East Division.
In the West, Webster received seven of 10 first-place votes to be the overwhelming preseason favorite. Fontbonne was voted second, followed by Westminster, Iowa Wesleyan and Eureka.
Greenville got eight first-place votes in the East, followed by Spalding with the remaining two votes to be picked second. MacMurray was third, Blackburn was fourth and Principia was fifth.
Eureka will play a three-game series against its four West Division foes and a doubleheader against the five East Division opponents for a total of 22 conference games. The top two teams in each division will qualify for the league's annual double-elimination tournament scheduled for May 10-12 at Robert E. Smith Field in Greenville, Ill.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Jerry Rashid, the Red Devils return 17 letterwinners from last season. All five players that made at least 111 plate appearances return for 2018, including senior All-SLIAC outfielder Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.). Senior left-hander Isaiah Taylor (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S./Illinois Valley) headlines the pitching staff after striking out 25 hitters over eight starts and 37.2 innings last spring.
The Red Devils are tentatively scheduled to begin the 2018 schedule on Sunday, March 4 against Elmhurst in Jacksonville, Ill. The home opener is set for a Wednesday, March 14 doubleheader against Monmouth at 2 p.m. and the league schedule begins in a twin bill at Greenville on Friday, March 23 at 1 p.m.