Western Courier

Baseball looks to bash Braves

Mitch Ellis steps into the batter's box for Western.

Mitch Ellis steps into the batter's box for Western.

Angel Strack/ Courier Staff

Angel Strack/ Courier Staff

Mitch Ellis steps into the batter's box for Western.

Chris Bean, Courier Staff

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Peoria, Ill. — The Western Illinois men’s baseball team will travel to Peoria on Wednesday to get their rematch against Bradley University. The two teams played earlier in the month on April 4, in a game Bradley University dominated, 14-7.

The Leathernecks come in with a 7-20 record, and a 5-6-conference record. They lost 8-5 last Friday to Omaha. They found themselves down early 5-1 after three innings, but were able to tie the game at five in the sixth.

They gave up three runs in the top of the seventh that determined the difference. With bad weather last Saturday and Sunday, both of their games were rained out.

The Braves come in with a 20-9 record, and a 7-2 conference record. They are on a three game winning streak, after they swept the University of Evansville this past weekend. They continued to swing the bats well like they have all season. They scored eight runs or more in every game.

They have relied on their offense all year long. They have six players who hit over .300 that play in their everyday lineup. They have eight players who have an on base percentage of .400 or above. Helping them drive in 188 total runs, and hitting for 17 home runs. In the first game they played against the Leathernecks, they hit two home runs and won the game.

The Purple and Gold offense has struggled most of the year.

Having senior leader Mitch Ellis back in the lineup helps them put more depth in the lineup. Ellis had a hand injury for a majority of the year, and didn’t come back until last week. Even though he has only played six games this year, he is hitting an incredible .450 batting average. If he can continue to hit like this, the Leathernecks won’t have any problem scoring runs.

Another big part of this lineup is sophomore Drue Galassi. Galassi had a very good freshman year, but it did not correlate to the start of this season. He started the year very slow, hitting below .170.

He is now getting out of the infamous “sophomore slump,” and hitting .239, and leads the team with junior Deion Thompson with two home runs. Even though they don’t have a lot of powerful hits this season, they make up for it with their ability to steal bases and bunt the ball. Thompson and Galassi lead the team in steals, both having 19 of them. Bunting the ball has been just as efficient for the Leathernecks, driving in two of their five runs from last Friday’s game.

The key of the game on defense for the Purple and Gold is to obviously slow down Bradley’s offense. Last game the Braves scored 12 runs in the first three innings, whoever pitches is going to have to do a better job of containing them early on.

For offense, their goal should be to score early and often. It might sound cliché, but Western was down 14-1 last game. They’re going to have to match the intensity of the Braves offense if they want to win.

The next eight of nine games will be on the road for the Leathernecks. It won’t be an easy task, but they can get some much needed momentum with a win on Wednesday.

The Leathernecks will be on the road this week. They are looking for some revenge on Wednesday in Peoria against Bradley University, who beat them earlier in the year. Then they will play three games against North Dakota State University. They won two out of three the first time they played Bison and look to win another series against them.

Twitter: Cre_bean

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Baseball looks to bash Braves