For Immediate Release
Baseball -- April 21, 2011
Late Burst Lifts Eureka Over MacMurray, 8-3
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College baseball team plated five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday afternoon, breaking a 3-3 tie en route to an 8-3 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over MacMurray at Henry Sand Field. Eureka starting pitcher Blake McConkey (Fairview, Ill./Spoon River Valley H.S.) tossed a complete game and earned his team-best fifth victory of the season.
The Red Devils (8-21, 4-13 SLIAC) scored a run in the first, third and fourth innings to open up a 3-0 lead in the early stages of the game. McConkey broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the first inning when his infield single scored senior first baseman Tim Cashdollar (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.), who doubled earlier in the inning off MacMurray starter Zach Arnett.
Eureka made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third when senior second baseman Aaron Tolson (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S.) collected the third of three consecutive two-out singles, scoring senior catcher Alex Hess (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central). Junior third baseman Mike Daxenbichler (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone H.S.) pushed the Eureka advantage to 3-0 in the fourth inning on the Red Devils’ third RBI single of the afternoon.
With the 3-0 lead, McConkey kept the Highlanders (3-23, 1-16 SLIAC) off the board through the first six innings, scattering seven hits and stranding eight baserunners before the visitors were able to take advantage of three Eureka errors in the seventh inning and tie the game at 3-3. The first two batters of the frame reached base on errors in the Eureka infield, allowing Caleb Bourne to smash an RBI double to left-center to cut the Eureka lead to 3-1. David Johnson followed with an RBI single and Bourne later scored on a broken rundown to tie the game at 3-3. Only one of the runs was earned against McConkey, who retired two straight batters to escape the jam with the go-ahead run stranded at third base.
The Red Devils were able to break the game open with a five-run eighth inning. A pair of walks and a bunt single from Tolson loaded the bases for freshman Kyle Kiesewetter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) with one out. Facing a 1-2 delivery from MacMurray reliever Brian Suckow, Kiesewetter was hit by a pitch to force home McConkey with the go-ahead run for a 4-3 advantage. Freshman shortstop Grant DeWitt (Mt. Sterling, Ill./Brown County H.S.) and Daxenbichler added run-scoring singles later in the inning and the Red Devils led 8-3 before the Highlanders finally escaped the inning on a groundout.
McConkey went the distance for the Red Devils, throwing 129 pitches to earn his team-best fifth victory of the season. He struck out nine and walked only two while surrendering 10 hits and only one earned run. Offensively, Daxenbichler, McConkey, Tolson and Kiesewetter paced a balanced Eureka lineup with two hits apiece. Daxenbicher finished the day with a game-high three RBI out of the leadoff spot.
The Red Devils will welcome SLIAC foe Spalding Friday for a 9-inning game at 3 p.m., kicking off a three-game weekend series with the first-place Golden Eagles. The two squads are also scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday at noon. A total of nine games remain on the schedule for Eureka, all of which are scheduled to be played at Henry Sand Field.
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