EUREKA – The Eureka baseball team was an out away from taking the opening game in a home doubleheader against Blackburn.
But the Beavers took advantage of a pair of errors to tie the game in the seventh inning, scored three runs in the top of the ninth and held off the Red Devils in the bottom half to close out a 6-5 victory. Blackburn then cruised to a 13-5 win in Game 2 and clinched a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sweep.
The Red Devils are now 9-18 on the season and 4-11 in SLIAC play. The Beavers improved to 5-23 and 3-11.
Game 1: Blackburn 6, Eureka 5
The first game of the series was supposed to last seven innings until Blackburn's Jonathan Stepp put a ball in play that led to two throwing errors for EC and two runs scored for the visitors. That made it 3-3, pushing the game into a nine-inning affair.
Two innings later, the Beavers plated three runs on two hits and an error to take a 6-3 advantage over the Red Devils.
Eureka answered with two runs on one hit and two errors in the bottom of the ninth, but the home team ended up falling a run short with the bases loaded, concluding a messy game that featured 10 errors between the two sides.
The Red Devils struggled to string together hits, scattering five hits and leaving 12 men stranded on base.
Joe Quinn (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) contributed the team's lone extra-base hit – a double during EC's three-run sixth inning. Drew Thoele (Teutopolis, Ill./Teutopolis), Braxten Ary (Green Valley, Ill./Midwest Central), Noah Harlan (Knoxville, Ill./Knoxville) and Jake Carter (Carlinville, Ill./Carlinville) each had singles.
J.D. Theile (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) struck out six and held Blackburn to one earned run on six hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings of work. However, he ended up with a no-decision. Mason Diederich (Washignton, Ill./Washington) only allowed one earned run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings and ended up with the loss.
Game 2: Blackburn 13, Eureka 5
The Beavers jumped on the Red Devils early, plating five runs on four hits and one error in the top of the first.
EC notched one run in each of the first three innings to trim it to a two-run game, but Blackburn tallied four more off three hits – including a solo homer by Stepp – in the fourth to extend the lead to six.
The Red Devils got two back in the fifth when Isaiah Davis (Morton, Ill./Morton) and Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) each drove one in with a an RBI double and a single, respectively. However, the Beavers belted two more solo homers in the sixth and Ryan Steen knocked a two-run triple in the seventh to seal it.
The Red Devils finished with eight hits to Blackburn's 14.
Green went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Carter and Davis each recorded doubles and four others had singles.
Up Next: The Red Devils will look to get back on track with a non-conference game Knox on Monday at 1 p.m.