Baseball win series against RedHawks

David Koier, Courier Staff

The Western Illinois Leathernecks baseball team have made some improvements in the win column, as the team won their series this weekend against the RedHawks of Southeast Missouri State. The Leathernecks, who were winless going into the series, won two of the three games against the RedHawks, who were undefeated up until this weekend.

The cold and rainy weather Friday afternoon didn’t affect the bats of the Purple and Gold. A wild pitch in the third inning started the scoring as junior Kevin Raisbeck scored after he reached an infield single and advanced to third off of a double by junior center fielder Drue Galassi.

Galassi would then score on the next pitch off of a sacrifice fly by senior Deion Thompson. The Leathernecks wouldn’t stop there as in the top of the fourth Alex Dorethy would score after senior Steve McShane reached first, due to an error by the RedHawks shortstop Tyler Wilbur.

The scoring would continue throughout the rest of the game including two home runs by Galassi, which helped the Leathernecks take the win in game one, 9-2. Earning the win for Western was junior Javin Drake. Drake went five innings allowing only five hits, one run, while striking out one. Sophomore Jace Warkentien earned the save after going four innings allowing one run off of four hits striking out two in the process.

Head coach Ryan Brownlee credits the team’s success in game one to the amount of preparation put in this past week. “That was all our guys. They had a great week of prep for the weekend. They focused on getting better with 2Ks and having a better approach in their counts.”

On Saturday afternoon, game two started off with a bang for the Leathernecks. In the top of the second, Dorethy hit a two-run homer to put the Leathernecks up early. Those two runs would be the only ones scored and would not be enough to keep the RedHawks at bay.

After the full nine innings, the red-hot RedHawks had crossed home 14 times demolishing the Leathernecks, 14-2. Earning the win for SEMO was Noah Niznik while Dorethy was given the loss for his second of the season.

Just as they had in games one and two, the Purple and Gold scored first and quickly in game three on Sunday. McShane scored off of a sacrifice groundout by Dorethy giving the Leathernecks a quick 1-0 lead. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when the RedHawks would retaliate, as SEMO right fielder Brett Gonzalez took advantage of a Diego Munoz error, scoring the first run of the day for the RedHawks.

The Leathernecks took advantage of another miscue as Raisbeck scored off of a wild pitch by Logan Winder, giving Western the lead once again in the top of the eighth. That lead was short lived when in the bottom of the eighth, SEMO right fielder Devon Wilson scored off of a single by third baseman Alex Nielsen.

No team could score again in the ninth, so fans in Cape Girardeau were treated to some free baseball. It wasn’t until the 11th when someone finally broke the tie. A single by senior CJ Schaeffer Jr. scored the go-ahead run for the Leathernecks and two batters later, Raisbeck added some insurance for Western hitting a two-run double.

The Leathernecks took game three and the series with a score of 5-2. Earning the win for the Leathernecks was sophomore Jack Carberry.

Brownlee was very proud with how the team worked this weekend. “I’m excited for our guys. It was great to get a hard-fought road series win. SEMO is a really good team, hard to navigate from an offensive standpoint. The whole team did a great job of keeping their composure in a tough environment.”

Western Illinois travels to Southern Illinois- Edwardsville this upcoming weekend for a three game series against the Sallukis, which begins Friday afternoon.