JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Brad Raley notched his second complete game of the season in a 12-strikeout victory, and Illinois-Springfield rallied with a big inning in game two, as Lake Erie split a pair in neutral-site action on Friday night.
The location may have changed, but the teams were the same, as the Storm (5-2) and Prairie Stars (3-2) battled through two games dominated by pitching and defense. In Friday night's opener, junior right-hander Brad Raley struck out 12 batters en route to a 4-3 Storm victory. In game two, UIS plated five runs in the second inning of an eventual 5-3 win.
The Lake Erie-Springfield series was originally scheduled to be played in Millington, Tenn., but field conditions nixed that site, and the games were moved to Lenz Field in Jacksonville, Ill.
Brad Raley allowed a solo run in the bottom of the first. Lake Erie leapfrogged the Prairie Stars with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the third. Aaron Lindgren and Garrett Emling had RBI singles in the third.
Raley, meanwhile, was dominant on the mound. He struck out one UIS batter in the first and two in the third. In between he punched out the side in the second. LEC walked its way to a run in the fourth to go up, 3-1. Zack DeCamp, Lou Peterlin and Rutger Luebke were the first three Storm batters in the inning, and all three drew walks.
The score would remain 3-1 until the bottom of the sixth when the Prairie Stars turned an LEC error into an unearned run.
Leading 3-2, the Storm came up with a big insurance run in the top of the seventh. Luebke reached on an error as the leadoff batter. One out later, Luebke was moved around to third on a single by Josh Hudeck. The following batter was junior shortstop Sean Mathews, and Mathews belted an RBI double to right-center. That plated LEC's fourth run. Runs number five and six were stranded on the bags when UIS reliever James Matson struck out two with runners on second and third. But the one run the Green & White did manage would loom large.
Raley struck out the No. 8 and No. 9 batters to start the home half of the seventh, but he then yielded a third run on a double and a single. Lake Erie's ace hurler then induced a fly to left off the bat of the UIS No. 3 hitter, and that ended the game.
Raley's two strikeouts in the seventh were his 11th and 12th of the game. Those dozen punch-outs came at the expense of just one base on balls. Raley allowed six base hits. His 12 strikeouts marked a career-second-best: the Hinckley, Ohio, native fanned an LEC-record 14 in a game last season (March 24 vs. Hillsdale-Mich.).
LEC batted as the home team in the nightcap. Brian Kilway started for the Storm, and he fell into an early hole. Illinois-Southern sent 10 men to the plate en route to scoring five runs in the top of the second. Kilway hit two batters in that inning, and the Prairie Stars did plenty of hitting on their own. UIS belted out four singles and a double in taking its 5-0 lead.
Lake Erie answered with one run in the second and then two more in the fourth. Freshman right-hander Austin Previt came on in relief of Kilway to start the fifth, and he and the Storm were down two (5-3) at that point.
The bullpens for both sides would hold sway the rest of the game – the fifth, sixth and seventh innings were all scoreless frames on both sides of the ledger.
Kilway went four innings in the loss. He gave up five runs on six hits. He walked none and struck out eight. Previt and fellow freshman Christopher Tomshack tallied a total three scoreless innings in relief.
Aaron Lindgren had two hits in the game, extending what is now a seven-game hit streak to start the season and a nine-game stretch dating back to last season.
Lake Erie outhit UIS, 9-8, in what was an errorless nightcap.
Notes: In two starts this season, Brad Raley has two complete games. He has thrown 14 innings, allowing just two earned runs on nine hits. He was walked two and struck out 19. Raley's ninth strikeout on Friday marked the 100th of his collegiate career. The 6-foot-4 right-hander is the fifth LEC pitcher to reach 100 career strikeouts. …Lake Erie committed one error in the opener and none in the second game. The Storm have been tagged with just two errors on the season. … Zack DeCamp saw a five-game hit streak halted in game one. … Aaron Lindgren had a double in game two. He now has 35 career extra-base hits (15 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs). … Through seven games, the LEC bullpen has yet to yield an earned run. The pen crew has tossed a combined 12-1/3 innings.