Necks prepare for Bison


Jasmyne Taylor/ Courier Staff

Deion Thompson up to the plate at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium.

David Koier, Courier Staff

OMAHA, Neb. — The Western Illinois University Leathernecks baseball team travels this weekend to Omaha, Neb. in a conference matchup against the Bison of North Dakota State University.

The Leathernecks are 7-21 on the season with a 5-6 conference record placing them fifth in the Summit League. The Bison aren’t doing much better, settling for a 6-7 conference record and a 13-16 overall. The Bison are fourth in the Summit League.

The Leathernecks were successful earlier in the season against the Bison, scoring a two game to one series win in the opening series of conference play. A key player of that series was junior utility man Bailey Montgomery. Montgomery went four for five that weekend with a pair of RBIs. Another player who thrived in the early season series was junior infielder Deion Thompson. Thompson led the Leathernecks with four hits and two runs.

The Purple and Gold had an unfortunate weekend last week against the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. Starting the series off with a loss on Friday, Mother Nature didn’t feel like watching any baseball, as it continued to rain all weekend ending with the cancellation of the second two games. This past Wednesday the Leathernecks traveled to Peoria to face the Bradley University Braves in losing fashion, coming up short 9-2.

The Bison are on their own two-game losing streak, losing to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. The Bison have also been plagued with cancellations this year having four games cancelled in the past two weeks.

Pitching is still a strong area for this struggling Leathernecks team. Led by senior Ian Dunne and junior Ian Koch, the Purple and Gold only allow their opponents a .268 batting average while striking out 235 batters in the process. Dunne leads the Leathernecks and the Summit League in total strikeouts with 53 on the season.

Koch isn’t that far behind, with his 45 placing him tied at third in the Summit. Senior Colan Borchers is having a strong season from the bullpen with a trio of saves on the year placing him third in the Summit League in that category. Accompanying his saves are a 0.68 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and a 1.12 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched).

An offensive leader this season for the Leathernecks is Thompson. As stated earlier, Thompson had a stellar series against the Bison early in the season, but he continued to thrive after that. Thompson has an outstanding batting average of .274 accompanied by 14 RBIs, two home runs and a .374 on-base percentage. Thompson also has a spot on top of the Summit League with 14 stolen bases.

Leading the team in batting average this season is redshirt freshman Alex Dorethy who in his 24 games has a .327 average. Along with his average, Dorethy has claim to seven RBIs and two doubles.

The Leathernecks will face off against the Bison this Friday through Sunday, with all the games start at 1 p.m. The games will be played at Seymour Smith Park on the campus of fellow league competitor Omaha.

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