Posted: Mar 13, 2018
Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change to the schedule. Eureka's game scheduled for Saturday against NAIA Viterbo (Wis.) has been moved to Friday, March 16 at 2 p.m. at Henry Sand Field.
EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College baseball team will end a nine-day layoff from game competition when the Red Devils return home to begin a five-day, five-game homestand at Henry Sand Field. It's scheduled to be Eureka's first five-game homestand in the month of March since 2001.
Eureka will host Monmouth for the home opener in Wednesday's 2 p.m. doubleheader. NAIA Viterbo visits Friday for a 2 p.m. start and USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield travels to Eureka Sunday for a doubleheader at noon.
RED DEVILS SPLIT IN JACKSONVILLE
Eureka entered the 2018 win column on Sunday, March 4 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.
Jake Carter had three of EC's nine hits in the win, including a triple in the fifth inning. Mike Redmond's bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning proved to drive in the winning run.
Mason Diederich threw 4.2 innings of relief in his collegiate debut to earn the victory. Starter Kody Silverthorn allowed one hit and one earned run over 3.0 innings.
The win 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. It also marked Eureka's fourth win over a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin opponent since beating Millikin 7-6 on March 15, 2013.
The Red Devils dropped the season opener earlier on March 4, a 10-4 setback versus Lawrence. Grant Mullin and Ray Vogel had two hits apiece to drive Eureka's eight-hit attack against LU.
VS. MONMOUTH (Wednesday DH, 2 p.m.)
Eureka will welcome Monmouth to campus for the first time since 2000 when the Scots visit for the Red Devils' home opener on Wednesday. The non-conference doubleheader is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at Henry Sand Field.
Third-year head coach and Washington, Ill. native Alan Betourne has the Scots off to a 6-4 start in 2018. Monmouth played 10 times during its week-long trip to Florida, earning non-conference victories over Dominican (Ill.), Kenyon (Ohio), Lebanon Valley (Pa.) (twice), Elizabethtown (Pa.) and Bridgewater State (Mass.). Senior outfielder Grant Myers has been MC's top hitter with a .441/.513/.618 line in 39 plate appearances. Junior right-hander Tyler McDonald has a 2.77 ERA and 14 strikeouts through two starts and 13.0 innings on the mound.
The Scots were picked third in the Midwest Conference's five-team South Division, according to a preseason coaches' poll. MC went 16-19 overall and 9-11 in MWC action last spring.
According to records, Monmouth owns a 22-10 all-time record against Eureka dating back to the first meeting in 1899. The Scots have won all six matchups since Eureka's program revival in 1992, including a 5-1 win in the most recent meeting on March 25, 2010.
HOME OPENERS, HISTORICALLY
The Red Devils have won nine of their last 18 home openers at Henry Sand Field since the turn of the century, including last season's 8-3 victory over Robert Morris-Springfield on March 18, 2017. Eureka has won four of its last six home openers since a 17-14 victory in a slugfest against Illinois College in 2012.
VS. VITERBO (FRIDAY, 2 p.m.)
The Red Devils will welcome a first-time opponent on Friday when NAIA Viterbo (Wis.) visits Henry Sand Field for a 2 p.m. first pitch. The V-Hawks have already had a busy spring, playing 16 times since their opener against MidAmerica Nazarene (Mo.) on Feb. 16. VU is 1-15 this spring, earning its lone victory in a 3-0 triumph over Northwestern (Iowa) on Feb. 17. Viterbo is scheduled to visit Union (Ky.) Wednesday before playing Eureka on Saturday.
Including a six-game fall schedule, senior infielder Brent Stoughtenger has been VU's top hitter with a .327 average in 52 at bats. Viterbo hits .211 as a team and has struck out 184 times in 24 games. Ryan Boelk, a 6-foot-7 junior right-hander, leads the pitching staff with a 4.24 ERA in 17.0 innings. He's made three starts. VU owns an 8.09 team ERA and allows opposing batters to hit .318.
Brian Lewis is in his second season as head coach. The former NJCAA Illinois Central assistant piloted the V-Hawks to a 12-36 record last season.
Viterbo University is located in La Crosse, Wis., a city of 52,000 along the MIssissippi River equidistant from Minneapolis and Madison. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 1,800. The V-Hawks compete in the nine-institution North Star Athletic Association.
VS. ROBERT MORRIS-SPRINGFIELD (SUNDAY DH, Noon)
Eureka will renew its in-state rivalry with USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield in a noon doubleheader this Sunday at Henry Sand Field. The Eagles are 0-7 through their first seven contests, all losses to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents. Iowa Wesleyan swept a three-game series from RMU on March 3-4 and Principia outscored the Eagles 50-4 during a four-game sweep March 9-10. RMU is scheduled to visit Robert Morris-Peoria on Friday night.
The Eagles have a .232 team batting average. Junior infielder Nick Grupa leads the attack with a .280/.308/.320 line in 26 plate appearances.The pitching staff has been roughed up to the tune of a 9.38 team ERA. Freshman Dylan Murillo owns a 5.00 ERA over two starts and 9.0 innings of action.
The Red Devils and Eagles split a doubleheader last March at Henry Sand Field. RMU owns a 9-7 record in the all-time series with EC that dates back to 2007. The two squads have split six games at Henry Sand Field.