EUREKA, Ill. – Kody Silverthorn (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Parkland) struck out a career-high 12 batters on the way to his first victory of 2018 and the offense recorded season highs with 12 runs and 15 hits in the Eureka College baseball team's 12-2 non-conference rout of NAIA Lincoln Christian, Thursday afternoon at Henry Sand Field.
Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita), Joe Quinn (Coal City, Ill./Coal City H.S./Illinois Valley) and Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley) had three hits apiece to drive the EC lineup. Smith drove in a game-high three and Mullin doubled twice with a pair of RBI.
Thursday's win improved Eureka to 5-9-1 overall and 4-3-1 at home this spring. The run total and margin of victory were Eureka's largest since a 27-1 win at Rust (Miss.) on March 5, 2017.
The Red Lions parlayed four hits and a hit batsman into a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Ezra Israel doubled down the left-field line to begin the game and scored the day's first run three batters later on Seth Webster's single to center field. Clint Rawlinson later added another run-scoring single before Silverthorn induced a groundout to end the threat.
Eureka seized the game's momentum and took the lead for good with a five-run second inning. Smith got the hosts on the board with a single that plated Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.). The Red Devils later tied the game when Quinn scampered home on an error in the LCU infield and Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) later delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBI with a run-scoring infield single. Four of the five runs to score in the frame were unearned.
Smith added an RBI single in the third and Quinn made it 7-2 in the fifth when his single scored Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.). Eureka continued to widen the gap in the bottom of the sixth when Mullin doubled home Ary and later scored on a wild pitch for a 9-2 cushion.
The hosts went on to score three more times in the seventh to put the 10-run rule into effect. Quinn and Smith opened the inning with back-to-back doubles, part of a stretch of five consecutive Red Devils to reach safely to begin the frame. Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Robert Morris-Peoria) drew a bases-loaded walk and pinch-hitter Austin McCarty (Oakwood, Ill./Oakwood H.S.) ended it with an infield RBI single.
Silverthorn settled in after LCU's two-run first inning, yielding only one hit over the final six innings. He struck out at least one batter in every inning and struck out the side in the top of the second. Silverthorn has allowed three earned runs or less in all five of his starts in 2018 and lowered his season ERA to 3.81, the lowest among EC pitchers to toss at least 1.0 inning per game this season.
The Red Devils will continue what is scheduled to be a season-long six-game homestand this weekend. Webster, ranked 25th in this week's ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III Top 30 poll, will visit Henry Sand Field for a three-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division series beginning with a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. The Red Devils and Gorloks will play a single 9-inning game Sunday at noon.