Red Devils Overcome Westminster in Series Opener, 4-3

Red Devils Overcome Westminster in Series Opener, 4-3

EUREKA, Ill. – Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora H.S.) earned his second complete-game victory in a nine-day stretch in the Eureka College baseball team's 4-3 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division win over Westminster, Saturday afternoon at Henry Sand Field.

Eureka is now 12-12-1 overall and 6-9 against conference opponents.

Cluskey went a career-long 9.0 innings, striking out six Blue Jays and scattering six hits. He walked only two and all three runs to score against him were unearned. His effort lowered his season ERA to 3.89 over 34.2 innings.

Both teams plated a single run in the second inning. The Blue Jays got on the board when Brandon Beeler singled, stole second base and scored on a two-out error in the Eureka infield. The Red Devils evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame on a groundout from Evan Smith (Moline, Ill./Moline H.S./Sauk Valley) after a walk and two errors loaded the bases.

Eureka grabbed a 2-1 lead after another Westminster error allowed Braxten Ary (Green Valley, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) to score after taking a two-out walk. The Blue Jays punched right back with a two-run fourth inning. Zach Stiles singled and later scored the tying run on a groundout from Ryan Klimkiewicz. Adam Mundle followed with an RBI single and the WC lead was 3-2.

The Westminster advantage remained one until Eureka regained the lead in the seventh. Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases for Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Robert Morris-Peoria), who coaxed a walk from new WC reliever Sean Markley for a 3-3 tie. One batter later, another walk to Ary forced home the go-ahead run.

Cluskey finished the job on the mound for his second collegiate win. The Blue Jays put two runners on base to begin the eighth, but a failed sacrifice bunt attempt followed by back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat. Cluskey got a strikeout, pop out and fly out in a perfect ninth to finish the 122-pitch complete game.

Eureka will look for its first SLIAC series win versus Westminster since 2010 when the Blue Jays return to Henry Sand Field on Sunday for a noon doubleheader. Eureka will host its annual Senior Day ceremony prior to the opener, honoring seniors Ethan Gates (Batavia, Ill./Batavia H.S./Waubonsee), Jake Schnulle (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock North/Cardinal-Stritch), Smith, Isaiah Taylor (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S./Illinois Valley) and Ray Vogel (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.).