For Immediate Release
Baseball -- March 21, 2012
Eureka Takes Home Opener From Illinois College, 17-14
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College sophomore shortstop Grant DeWitt (Mt. Sterling, Ill./Brown County H.S.) belted his first career home run in the fourth inning, highlighting Eureka’s best offensive output in nearly a year and lifting the Red Devils to a 17-14 non-conference victory over Illinois College, Wednesday afternoon at Henry Sand Field in Eureka, Ill. The victory marked Eureka’s second home-opening win since 2010.
The Red Devils (2-6) put together a huge first inning, sending 12 batters to the plate to build an 8-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Jordan Hodel (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.) put the hosts on the board after two walks and a base hit loaded the bases, coaxing a four-pitch walk to score DeWitt for a 1-0 advantage. The next five Red Devils reached base safely, four of which came on a single, to push the advantage to 8-0 and drive IC starter Ian Richardson from the ball game. The Blueboys committed two errors in the inning, but only one of Eureka’s eight runs in the frame were unearned.
The Blue Boys (9-4) got on the board in their next at-bat when Adam Hamerlinck ripped the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a two-run homer and an 8-2 deficit. The visitors would go on to score five runs in the second and third innings, but EC would match the run totals and ultimately stretch its lead to 16-5 after a three-run fourth inning.
Illinois College looked to be in danger of falling to the 10-run rule before engineering a six-run seventh inning to climb back into the contest. Dave Dalfonso and Terry Davis drove in runs early in the frame before Nick Visconti drilled a grand slam over the right field fence to pull the Blueboys back within three, 17-14.
Visconti’s blast proved to be the last runs of the game. IC reliever Matt Pardo allowed a sixth-inning solo home run to Eureka senior third baseman Blake McConkey (Fairview, Ill./Spoon River Valley H.S.), but allowed only one other hit in tossing the final 4.0 innings of the afternoon for the Blueboys. Eureka sophomore reliever Stephen Davis (Mackinaw, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.) was also solid out of the bullpen, needing only 15 pitches to record the final six outs of the game for EC and pick up his first career save.
Eight of Eureka’s nine starters collected a hit during the afternoon and five Red Devils had a multi-hit effort. Senior right fielder Mike Daxenbichler (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) continued his early-season hitting spree, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. His second-inning double to score Hodel was his first extra-base hit of the season. DeWitt, Eric Lopez (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes H.S.), McConkey and Josh Hofer (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) each pounded out three hits.
The 17-run outburst was Eureka’s best offensive showing of the season the most runs scored by the Red Devils since earning an 18-2 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Lincoln Christian on March 22, 2011.
Sophomore pitcher Bryan Meyer (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap H.S.) entered the game in the third inning, tossing 2.1 innings and striking out one to earn his first victory of the season.
The Red Devils will now turn their attention to the 24-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule, traveling to Louisville, Ky. this weekend for a three-game series with Spalding. The two squads will play a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. CT and a single contest Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.
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