JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – The Eureka College baseball team entered the 2018 win column Sunday afternoon in a 5-4 non-conference victory over Elmhurst at Lenz Field in Jacksonville, Ill., the first collegiate victory for new head coach Jerry Rashid. The Red Devils dropped Sunday's opener, a 10-4 setback versus Lawrence.
Sunday's win over the Blue Jays was the first at the NCAA level for Rashid, who won more than 800 games as the winningest coach in the history of high school baseball in central Illinois. The win over Elmhurst also marked Eureka's fourth win over a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin opponent since the turn of the century and its first since beating Millikin 7-6 on March 15, 2013.
Elmhurst scored first on Jacob McMillian's first-inning RBI single, but the Red Devils promptly tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the inning when Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored on a second wild pitch.
Ethan Gates (Batavia, Ill./Batavia H.S./Waubonsee) gave EC a 2-1 lead in the third when his single plated Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita H.S.). The Eureka lead became 3-1 in the fourth when Ary doubled home Mike Redmond (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita H.S.). The Red Devils' cushion ultimately ballooned to 5-1 without a run-scoring hit in the fifth. Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) ripped a one-out triple before scampering home on a wild pitch for EC's fourth run of the day. Three batters later, Redmond accepted a bases-loaded walk and for the 5-1 cushion.
The Blue Jays got three runs back in the eighth on an RBI groundout and back-to-back bases-loaded walks. Reliever Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora H.S.) eventually escaped trouble by stranding the go-ahead runs on the basepaths with a strikeout of Trey Compton. Cluskey went on to sit down Elmhurst in order in the ninth to secure his first collegiate save.
Carter had three of EC's nine hits in the win, including his triple in the fifth inning.
Mason Diederich (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) threw 4.2 innings of relief in his collegiate debut to earn the victory. Starter Kody Silverthorn (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Parkland) allowed one hit and one earned run over 3.0 innings.
In the opener against Lawrence, Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) gave the Red Devils a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. EC's lead would be short-lived. The Vikings punched back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, taking the lead for good when Travis Weber's RBI single gave LU a 2-1 cushion. Lawrence scored five more in the second inning on run-scoring hits from Zach Rabideau, Weber and Rudy Mueller-Schrader for a 7-1 cushion.
Vogel singled home another run in the third. Mullin doubled home a run in the fifth and Carter plated another on an RBI groundout. The fifth-inning offense pulled Eureka within 9-4, but the Red Devils didn't score again.
Mullin and Vogel had two hits apiece to drive Eureka's eight-hit attack against LU.
Eureka will return to action on Wednesday, March 14 in the 2018 home opener against in-state foe Monmouth. The Red Devils and Fighting Scots will play a doubleheader at Henry Sand Field beginning at 2 p.m.