Baseball looks to move up in Summit League standings

Christopher Gibson, Courier Staff

This past Wednesday, the Western Illinois University baseball team (14-20) traveled down to Edwardsville to take on the Southern Illinois Cougars (13-21). Unfortunately, the Leathernecks lost by a score of 3-13 and the game ended early due to the lopsided score.

Freshman Chandler Fochs got the start on the mound for the Leathernecks. He only went two innings, giving up only three runs on two hits and also struck out four. He let up a run in the first inning off of a wild pitch, allowing the Cougars to get out to an early lead. However, Fochs got some offensive help in the top of the second. Senior CJ Schaeffer Jr. started the inning off with a double to center field. A couple batters later, senior Deion Thompson walked, which put runners on first and second with one out for senior Justin Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick would end up drawing a walk to load the bases. Junior Kevin Raisbeck also ended up walking a couple batters later, allowing Schaeffer to score, making the game all tied up.

The score stayed tied at one a piece, until the bottom of the third inning. Fochs walked the leadoff man and then gave up a triple, allowing a run to score. Fochs got taken out of the game and replaced by sophomore Alex Dorethy, but the Cougars weren’t done scoring in the third yet. They tacked on three more runs, highlighted by a two-run homerun by their catcher Brock Weimer. They led 1-5 after the third inning and then added eight more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, making the score 1-13.

That wasn’t it for our Leathernecks, however. Schaeffer started the inning off with another double, this time to right center. Senior Steve McShane would ground out and, in the process, moved Schaeffer over to third. Schaeffer scored a couple batters later off of a wild pitch. Then Fitzpatrick scored the last run of the game for the Leathernecks with a solo blast to left field. Neither team scored the rest of the game.

The Leathernecks are now looking forward to this weekend when they take on South Dakota State University (16-15) in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Jackrabbits themselves are coming off of a loss at the hands of Minnesota with a final score of 1-5 in favor-of the Gophers.

With South Dakota State sitting just one game ahead of them in The Summit League and tied in the conference with Oral Roberts, the Leathernecks are going to be looking to capitalize on their trip to South Dakota. If they want to come out of Sioux Falls ahead of the Jackrabbits in the standings, there are two keys to success for the Leathernecks. First off, they need to get the bats going again. While Schaeffer had a spectacular game against SIU-E going two for three with two doubles, the rest of the team needs to fall in line with Schaeffer. Another key to this game is going to be the pitching.

The Leathernecks need to get some quality outings from their pitchers if they want to take second place in The Summit League.