Baseball to host Summit League powerhouse



Deion Thompson at bat for the Leathernecks.

Christopher Bean, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — Western Illinois University Leathernecks will host Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles. The Leathernecks come into the weekend with a 4-18 record, and a 3-4 record in the Summit League. The Golden Eagles are 16-11 overall, and are tied at the top of the conference with Omaha with a 7-2 record.

The Purple and Gold are coming off a 14-7 loss against Bradley on Wednesday. They got off to a horrible start, falling behind 12-0 after the first three innings. Freshman Jace Warkentien started and it did not go as planned. He only pitched 2.0 innings giving up five hits and five earned runs. Freshman Justin Foy and sophomore Ben Sellers could both only get one out in the third, giving up the other six runs. Senior Sam Cottingham-Beard got the last out of the third to stop the bleeding. The Leathernecks gave up a whopping 10 walks in that span. The Braves ended up getting two more runs in the sixth thanks to the freshman Eli Rawlinson’s home run, which came off of junior Jimmy Perkins. The Braves led 14-1 through six, their biggest lead of the game. Fortunately, for the Leathernecks, they answered with five runs in the seventh inning to cut into the lead, thanks to a three run home run from junior Deion Thompson. He now leads the team with two home runs. The last run came in the ninth from another home run, but this time it was sophomore Drue Galassi, hitting his first long ball this year. The Leathernecks did not complete the come back, but look to take some of this momentum into this weekend.

Oral Roberts are coming off a loss of their own in close 5-2 loss against the 19th ranked Oklahoma Sooners. They were down 2-0 after three innings, then came back to tie it by an error from the Sonners. Oklahoma retook the lead in the sixth, and got two insurance runs in the ninth to lock up the victory.

The Golden Eagles have won 17 straight Summit League titles, and look strong yet again this year. Sophomore Spencer Henson leads the league with a .359 batting average, and is second with 26 RBI’s and four home runs, only falling behind in both categories to his teammate senior Noah Cummings with 29 RBI’s and five home runs. Sophomore Riley Keizer is fifth in the league with 18 RBI’s. Junior Jack Rosenberg can also hit for power, he has four long balls of his own. Junior Cal Hernandez is third in the Summit League with a .347 batting average. Even though they have great offense, their pitching could be even better by there three senior starters. Justin McGregor leads the league in ERA with a 3.35, and Taylor Varnell has a 3.72, and just below him with a 3.76 ERA is Miguel Ausua.

It won’t be easy for the Leathernecks to defeat them, but they’re going to have to step it up on the offensive side, where they have struggled all year. They have no one in the top ten in batting average or RBI’s. Steve McShane leads the team with a .279 batting average, and Thompson leads the team with 13 RBI’s. Thompson does however lead the league in stolen bases with nine along with Omaha’s Thomas DeBonville. On the defensive side of the ball, they will need senior ace Ryan Dunne to step in. He leads the league with 43 strikeouts.

The Leathernecks look to jump start their season, and what better way by winning the series against the best team in the Summit.

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