CARLINVILLE, Ill. – Kody Silverthorn (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Parkland) threw a complete game for his second consecutive victory and Braxten Ary (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) provided the go-ahead RBI to send the Eureka College baseball to its sixth consecutive win in a 6-4 victory over Blackburn in the opener of Wednesday's St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader opener. The Beavers ended the Red Devils' streak with a 9-2 triumph to in game two to save a twin bill split.
Eureka is now 11-12-1 overall and 5-9 against SLIAC opponents. The game-one win improved the Red Devils to .500 or better in the month of April for the first time since the 2010 Red Devils finished the regular season with a 19-19 record.
Game 1: EC 6, Blackburn 4
Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Robert Morris-Peoria) and Ary registered two hits apiece from the top two slots in the EC lineup, four of the Red Devils' seven hits in the win. Ary and Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley) each drove in a pair. Silverthorn scattered six hits over 7.0 innings and allowed only one earned run.
Blackburn struck first, scoring three times on only one hit in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Steen drew a bases-loaded walk to open the scoring before Mike McDermand added an RBI groundout and Nathan Bassett chipped in a run-scoring fielder's choice for a 3-0 cushion.
The visitors responded with a big fourth inning. Green started the rally with a double, stole third base and later scored on Ary's RBI single. Two batters later, Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) pulled EC within 3-2 with a run-scoring single. Two batters after that, Eureka tied the game at 3-3 when Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville H.S.) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Smith, the seventh batter of the inning, gave the Red Devils a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly that plated Vogel.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Blackburn forced a 4-4 tie thanks to a two-out RBI single by Shane Lewis. Eureka responded quickly and produced what proved to be game-winning run when Green again caused havoc on the base paths. His leadoff walk was immediately followed by a stolen base and a run-scoring single from Ary for a 5-4 lead. Eureka added insurance in the sixth when Joe Quinn (Coal City, Ill./Coal City H.S./Illinois Valley) doubled and later scored for a 6-4 cushion on Smith's single.
Silverthorn retired 10 of the final 11 Beavers he faced to lock down Eureka's sixth consecutive victory.
Game 2: Blackburn 9, EC 2
Quinn and Smith picked up two more hits in the nightcap, but the Red Devils were limited to five hits as a team. Quinn went 6.0 innings on the hill, yielding three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Brandon Porter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln Way Central H.S.) pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Eureka was poised to earn its third consecutive doubleheader sweep, breaking a scoreless tie in the sixth inning when Ary doubled to score Mike Redmond (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) for a 1-0 lead. The visitors doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the seventh when Carter walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
The wheels fell off for Eureka in the bottom of the seventh, a nine-run outburst by the hosts in which BC collected seven hits, took advantage of three EC errors and sent 12 batters to the plate. Lewis tied the game with a single that scored Ry Clark. Steven Diaz drove in the go-ahead run in the next at-bat, part of a stretch in which seven consecutive batters reached safely.
Eureka will welcome SLIAC West Division rival Westminster to Henry Sand Field for a three-game weekend series beginning with a single contest Saturday at 3 p.m. The Blue Jays took two out of three from the Red Devils last May in Fulton, Mo.