MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois baseball team will host the struggling 5-25 Mastodons of Fort Wayne. Coming into the weekend series, both teams are at the bottom of The Summit League, with Western at 5-7 and Fort Wayne at 0-12. Even though the Necks are in fifth place, they are only two games out of second place where South Dakota State sits at 7-5.
The Purple and Gold are currently on a seven game homestand and are 3-1 through the first four games. After sweeping Oral Roberts this weekend, the Leathernecks lost 4-1 on Tuesday against the Braves from Bradley University. The Braves got off to a hot start, scoring two runs off Chandler Fochs who fell to 1-1. Dan Bolt hit a one-out RBI single to left field. Two batters later, Keaton Rice got hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to score Brendan Dougherty. The score stayed the same until the Braves scored their third run of the game thanks to a wild pitch, however, Western wouldn’t go away silently.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Hodgett relieved starter Jed Moscot after throwing a scoreless six innings and eventually picked up his third win this year. He began the inning by giving up two walks in-a-row to Drue Galassi and Bailey Montgomery. Brian Schrimmer would come in to replace him. A wild pitch advanced Galassi and Montgomery to second and third with no outs. Later in the game, Alex Dorethy singled to centerfield, scoring the only Western run in the game. After CJ Schaeffer Jr. flied out to first, Justin Fitzpatrick hit a shot to the shortstop who caught it, and then threw it to first to get an inning-ending double play, killing the rally for the Necks.
The Braves didn’t waste any time getting that run back after Rice led the inning with a double, hugging the right field line. Connor Manthey executed his bunt, sacrificing the out to advance Rice to third. Next batter, Nick McMurray, hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the run’s last game. Offensively, Western went in order to end the game. Bradley swept the two game season series, after beating Western 10-0 back on April 2. The Braves picked up their 18th win of this year and now have an 18-10 record. The Leathernecks fell to 11-19.
Galassi is now tied for first in home runs with seven and 26 RBIs after his monster weekend hitting three home runs and seven RBIs against Oral Roberts. Javin Drake leads the Summit in strikeouts with 61, and his 3.79 ERA is fourth best in the conference.
Even though they lost on Tuesday, the Purple and Gold can still go 6-1 on this homestand when they host Fort Wayne this weekend. The series will start with a doubleheader on Saturday with the first pitch around 11 a.m. Western continues to move up the leaderboard in conference play and with a sweep they will be over .500 in the conference for the first time this year.