SLIAC Game of the Week: Eureka at Fontbonne

SLIAC Game of the Week: Eureka at Fontbonne


At a Glance

This week's SLIAC Game of the Week pits two teams looking to take the next step as Fontbonne University hosts Eureka College in a West Division three-game series over the weekend. Fontbonne, who missed the conference tournament by one game last year, will take on Eureka who, under first-year head coach Jerry Rashid, has already reached half their win total from 2017. The two teams are set to play a doubleheader on Friday, March 30 beginning at 12 p.m. and a single game on Saturday at noon. All games to be played at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Mo.

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Eureka College 'RED DEVILS'

Eureka faces Spalding in a road doubleheader on Wednesday to continue their run of SLIAC games after playing Greenville last Friday. The Red Devils are 3-5-1 overall this season and are in the middle of nine straight conference contests.

Eureka is hitting .237 as a team and averaging 4.4 runs per game, both ranking 10th in the league but up from last year. The Red Devils have shown they can hit for power this season, ranking 7th in the league in slugging percentage and sit in the middle of the league with five home runs. Grant Mullin has been the big bat for Eureka this spring; hitting .364 with four home runs and 14 runs batted in. Jake Carter leads the team with a .370 average while leadoff hitter Sean Green is hitting .333 with four stolen bases.  

On the mound Eureka has made big strides this year, lowering their team E.R.A. by three runs so far. Kody Silverthorn leads the team with 15 innings pitched and holds a 3.60 E.R.A. with 13 strikeouts. Mason Diedrich has a 3.09 E.R.A. with a win and two saves out of the bullpen. 


Fontbonne University 'GRIFFINS'

Coming into this week Fontbonne had played the most games (17) in the SLIAC this season but had yet to play their first conference games. They are scheduled to face MacMurray in a doubleheader on Wednesday to open up SLIAC. The Griffins are 8-9 overall but have dropped three straight as they enter the week.

The Griffins are hitting .289 as a team this season and have scored 90 runs, which is 5th in the conference. They are aggressive on the basepath with 31 steals this year and are 5th in the league with a 4.51 team E.R.A. 

Jackson Penrod leads the team with a .426 average while driving in nine while the trio of Michael Puckett (.389), Michael Golich (.351) and Gus Purschke (.302) are all hitting above .300 this season. All-Conference performer Ryan Schocker has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, hitting .275, but remains a run producer with 15 runs batted in.  

Luke Summers and Levi Earnest have each made five starts this year with Summers holding a 2.40 earned-run average over 30 innings and putting together a 3-1 record while averaging a strikeout per inning. Reliever Brett Lange has been lights out coming out of the pen with a 3.00 E.R.A. and 35 strikeouts in just 24 innings.


Last Time They Met
Eureka took the third and final game of their series against Fontbonne last spring, winning 6-5 in 10 innings. The Red Devils plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score up and then won in the next frame when Grant Mullin drew a bases-loaded walk. Mullin finished the game 2-for-4 with 5 RBI while Patrick Shuff led the Griffins with three hits.

Game Notes

  • Fontbonne leads the all-time series against Eureka 24-7 although the Red Devils took the final game of their three-game series last year 6-5 in 10 innings which snapped an 18 game Griffin win streak.
  • Eureka is already half-way to their win total from last year and with 28 games remaining on their schedule will be looking to secure their first double-digit win season since 2012. 
  • Fontbonne missed out on the conference tournament by one game last season and are searching for their first postseason trip since 2014.
  • Eureka's Grant Mullin is tied for first in the league with four home runs already surpassing his previous career total of one. 
  • Fontbonne's Jackson Penrod currently ranks second in the SLIAC in batting average and is first with a .514 on-base percentage.