JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – It took a while for the Eureka College baseball team to string together hits and score runs on Sunday.
But when the pressure was on, the Red Devils capitalized. EC rallied late and held off Elmhurst in an 8-7 non-conference contest at Joe Brooks Field.
The Red Devils' surge began when they were trailing the Blue Jays 5-3 in the top of the seventh inning and running out of opportunities.
Freshman Drew Thoele (Teutoplis, Ill./Teutopolis), senior Joe Quinn (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) and junior Braxten Ary (Green Valley, Ill./Midwest Central) delivered three straight singles to load the bases. A pitching change later, Dean Moir (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) was hit by a pitch to bring in a run, and a pitching change after that, Sean Green (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) singled and Mike Redmond (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) walked with the bases loaded to take the lead.
The advantage grew to three runs after freshman Hunter Triche (Gray, La./H.L. Bourgeois) got beaned with the bases loaded and Green scored on a wild pitch.
Elmhurst loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and Jordan Scrimpsher produced a two-run double to make it a one-run game in the eighth. The Blue Jays even put the game-tying run on third in the ninth after a two-out triple by Trevor Horwath.
But each time, reliever Mason Diederich (Washington, Ill./Washington) and the Red Devils found a way to get out of trouble.
A fielder's choice grounder to short quelled the first threat in the seventh, back-to-back grounders ended the Blue Jays' hopes of extending their rally in the eighth and a looking strikeout clinched the game in the final frame.
Diederich notched his first save of the season after holding Elmhurst to one earned run on two hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Sophomore Gregory Cluskey (East Peoria, Ill./Metamora) improved to 2-0 on the year after limiting the Blue Jays to five runs despite giving up 13 hits in 6 1/3. Both EC pitchers had three strikeouts.
Green went 2-for-4, had a double, scored a pair of runs and tallied a pair of RBIs for the Red Devils. Thole also had two hits and scored a run, while senior Grant Mullin (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) drove in two pre-rally runs on RBI groundouts.
The Red Devils' triumph snapped a five-game losing streak and moved the team within two wins of .500 after a grueling spring break trip that featured six games against four teams with .500 records or better.
Eureka (3-5) will next head to Monmouth (9-3) for a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday.