For Immediate Release
Baseball -- April 20, 2012
Eureka Downs Principia in Series Opener, 6-3
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College junior left fielder Eric Lopez (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes H.S./Lake County) drove in a game-high three runs and sophomore starting pitcher Grant DeWitt (Mt. Sterling, Ill./Brown County H.S.) struck out nine over 6.0 innings to earn his first career victory, helping the Red Devils to a 6-3 victory over Principia in the opener of a three-game weekend St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference series, Friday afternoon at Henry Sand Field.
Principia (10-18, 2-11 SLIAC) struck first on an RBI single from Alan Cheatham in the top of the third inning, but the Red Devils (8-20, 6-10 SLIAC) answered with a pair of tallies in the bottom half of the frame and would never trail again. Lopez ripped an RBI single up the middle, scoring DeWitt who had singled with one out earlier in the inning to tie the game at 1-1. Lopez later scored an unearned run on a Principia fielding error for the 2-1 edge.
The advantage remained 2-1 until the fifth inning when a four-run outburst by the Red Devils broke the game open. Lopez drilled a two-run double into the right-center field gap after senior third baseman Eric Cuevas (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Curie H.S./Roosevelt) was hit by a pitch and DeWitt singled to open the inning. Lopez later scored his second run of the game when junior first baseman Kevin Dooley (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S./Spoon River) singled and ultimately moved to third on a two-base error in the PC outfield. Another Principia error allowed Dooley to score later in the inning for a 6-1 lead.
The offense was plenty of support for DeWitt, who yielded only one run through the first six innings. The first three Principia batters reached base in the seventh inning against DeWitt to load the bases, but sophomore reliever Stephen Davis (Mackinaw, Ill./Deer Creek-Mackinaw H.S.) entered the game and worked out of the jam with three consecutive groundouts, allowing only two runs to score.
Lopez and DeWitt each finished the game with two hits, as six different Red Devils hit safely overall. DeWitt also coaxed a pair of walks to reach safely four times on Friday. Making his sixth career start on the mound, DeWitt yielded only two earned runs on five hits and punched out a career-high nine batters. Davis earned his second save of the season after giving up one hit through 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.
Principia leadoff batter Spencer Clevenger picked up two hits to match DeWitt and Lopez for game-high honors. Starting pitcher Nate Gotch gave up all six Eureka runs through 5.0 innings to take the loss and fall to 1-5 on the campaign.
The Red Devils and Panthers will wrap up their three-game conference series Saturday in a noon doubleheader at Henry Sand Field.
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