Rough Saturday


Jake Thompson

Joe Mortillaro keeps his team in the game, throwing seven innings against ORU and only allowing three runs on Saturday.

Lucas Whitten

Saturday just wasn’t the Leathernecks’ day.

The Western Illinois baseball team suffered its first loss in a Summit League series, as Oral Roberts swept the Leathernecks in a doubleheader. The Golden Eagles won by scores of 6-0 and 11-1, after the Leathernecks won the first game of the series 9-4 on Friday.

“Today, we were right where we needed to be in both of those games,” said head coach Ryan Brownlee. “Eighteen innings is a long day. You’ve got to find a way to stay checked in for 18 innings. I give their pitchers some credit.  Obviously we’re still right where we need to be, we’re a game out of first.”

In Game 1, Steve McShane hit a pair of triples en route to a Leatherneck victory, 9-4 to tie the Golden Eagles for first place in the Summit League.

But the Golden Eagles reclaimed sole-possession of first place with a double-header sweep on Sunday.

In Game 2 of the series, Oral Roberts’ Nick Wood earned his third win of the season, throwing a complete game one-hitter en route to a 6-0 victory.

Joe Mortillaro continued to pitch well, throwing seven innings and allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out three and walking another.

In Game 3, the Leathernecks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after Colton Pogue hit a sacrifice fly to score Chris Tschida in the bottom of the first inning.

The Leathernecks would fail to find the scoreboard for the rest of the game, and Oral Roberts would cross the plate 11 times to enforce the 10-run rule in the eighth inning in an 11-1 victory.

With a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning, Oral Roberts catcher Matt Whatley broke the tie with a solo home run to left field.

The Golden Eagles weren’t done yet, as they put up three total runs in the seventh inning, including another solo home run, this time from
Chase Stafford.

The eighth inning is where ORU did most of their damage, putting their final six runs across the plate against three different Leatherneck pitchers.

“You’ve got to pitch down and change speeds when you need to,” said Brownlee. “When we got hurt today, we were elevated. The wind turned, and it turned into a day that if you were elevated, you’re going to get hurt a little bit. To their credit, we messed up and they made us pay.”

Freshman Ian Koch had a good start for the Leathernecks, allowing only two runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings against the heavy hitting Golden Eagles. Koch struck out four without walking a batter in the start.

“I feel like as a staff, we were ready for their hitters,” said Mortillaro. “We threw well and then it kind of got away from us. We’ll be ready for the second series when we go there for sure. We’re not going to lose anything from this. Tomorrow is a new day.”

The Leathernecks continue their seven-game home stand, taking on the St. Ambrose Bees in a non-conference matchup on Wednesday.

“We’re going to take it as any other game,” said Mortillaro. “We don’t really look at it as non-conference, because it’s a game. It’s going to be a loss or a win on the record. It’s just another day to get better, honestly.”