Baseball looks to bounce back after 15-2 loss to SIU-E

Taylor Jordan, Courier Staff

MACOMB, III. — Western Illinois and SIU-E entered Tuesday’s baseball game with matching records, each looking for their 16th victory. The Cougars ended up clenching the game 15-2 against the Leathernecks.

SIU-E have won four straight games and improved to 13-21 overall, while Western dropped to 14-20.

With the game tied 1-1, the Cougars regained the lead in the third inning. Jordan Cheek was in the circle for four complete innings, as the Leathernecks trailed 2-1 at the end of his second career start. Eric Giltz drove an RBI-triple to the gap in left center to get a run in, to which he scored off of a wild pitch.

Drue Galassi brought in the early run making it his 90th career RBI, which has him leading The Summit League with 34 RBI’s. The junior sits eight away from breaking the program’s all-time list. Galassi is also one shy for ninth all-time in triples and two away from home runs. He currently possesses eight, 17 and 90 respectively.

The Cougars momentum was in full effect after scoring eight times in the fourth inning and a two-out grand slam in the fifth inning, but prior to the strike, the team was limited to just two runs and two hits. Reliever Alex Dorethy, surrendered nine runs in 1 2/3 innings.

The Purple and Gold had an opportunity to pack a few runs in with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning, but the next three hitters were unable to do so due to strikeouts. Free bases ultimately became Western’s biggest downfall against the Cougars. SIU-E finished the game with a slight 7-5 edge in hits.

Western have wrapped their regular season matchups with South Dakota State and will now be looking to bounce back in their series against North Dakota State this weekend.

North Dakota State defeated the Leathernecks 5-4 in the set opener and 11-1 in the finale, while pitcher Jack Carberry improved to 3-0 on the season in a 9-6 victory.

The Leathernecks are 6-3 on the year when they score in the first inning and have nine wins when they score first.

The Summit League’s ‘Player of the Week’ a few weeks back (April 8), Javin Drake, has struck out at least five batters in his 11 appearances this year. Those games included a career-high 10 against St. Louis (March 8), Omaha (March 31) and Purdue Fort Wayne (April 13). He currently guides all Summit League pitchers with 75 Ks, sitting 26th in the nation. He also has the 10th most strikeouts in Western Illinois single-season history.

Leatherneck pitchers are currently ‘Top 10’ in several Summit League categories.

With Western’s pitchers, comes their catchers. C.J. Schaeffer Jr. led the league with 19 runners caught stealing a year ago and already has a league-leading 17 in 2019. Schaeffer is Western’s second watch list section in three seasons and currently The Summit League’s only representation.

The Leathernecks will be in Fargo, N.D. this weekend where they will start a series against North Dakota State. First game is set to start tonight at 6:30 p.m.