April 19 2018
Despite uncooperative spring weather, the Wheaton Thunder Baseball team was able to play three games this week. Two of their games have been postponed until further notice. Wheaton went 0-3 over the tough week, losing 14-4 to Millikin University on Wednesday, 6-4 to Carthage College on Friday and 5-3 against Carthage on Tuesday. Their record now stands at an even 13-13, while their CCIW record rests at 4-7.
Wheaton’s game against Millikin University was tough for the Thunder throughout. Five Wheaton pitchers allowed a combined 20 hits and 14 runs to the Millikin offense, compared to Wheaton’s four runs on six hits. The Thunder defense also committed four errors.
Millikin was on the board first, with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, and by the top of the fifth inning they led 10-0.
In the sixth, junior Ben Brittain walked and senior Johnny Peltz reached on an error before junior Clay Morrison drove them both home with a double to right field to bring the score to 10-2.
In the seventh, sophomore Sam Reichert and freshman Graham Core scored on singles by freshmen Cale Lewis and Joel Pierce to trim the lead to six.
The Thunder wouldn’t score again, but Millikin added four more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to end the game early by the run rule, with the score of 14-4.
Wheaton looked to move on from Wednesday’s game with a three-game conference series against Carthage College, but the Thunder fell in game one 6-4.
Carthage scored in the top of the first inning, but Wheaton responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Junior Nick Mailman scored on a sacrifice fly by Brittain after singling himself, and Morrison drove in freshman Jesse Welch –– who also singled –– on a double down the leftfield line.
Wheaton then increased their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Pierce was brought home on a double by senior Seth Meyer after being hit by a pitch and stealing second.
Junior starting pitcher Michael McCraith (3-2) pitched six strong innings, allowing only one run on three hits, but he was replaced in the seventh inning by junior Caleb Selk (3-1). Carthage went on to score four runs in the seventh to take the lead 5-3.
Mailman looked to start a rally in the seventh when he doubled with one out, but after an RBI single by Welch brought him home, the rally stalled, leaving the score at 5-4.
Carthage added one more insurance run in the top of the eighth, but Wheaton couldn’t push a man across the plate in the eighth or ninth innings, resulting in their 6-4 loss.
Game two, originally set to be played as the second half of a doubleheader on the same day as game one, was postponed due to weather and was played on April 17. It was another close game, but again Wheaton fell to Carthage, this time 5-3.
Carthage was the team out on top in this one, leading 3-0 after the first inning, but Wheaton looked to stay in step with their opponents as they added a run of their own in the top of the second. Junior Evan Ogden led off the inning with a triple to right center, and he was quickly brought to the plate on a sacrifice fly by Pierce, bringing the score to 3-1.
The Thunder then went cold for the next four innings, although they had their chances to score. Wheaton had eight runners on base over the course of those innings, but were never able to bring a runner across the plate. Instead, Carthage scored a run in the fifth and the sixth to further extend their lead to 5-1.
The Thunder came alive again in the seventh, though, as they loaded the bases with one out on singles by Core and Mailman and a walk by Welch. Core scored on a sac fly by Brittain, and Mailman came home on a passed ball to bring the score to 5-3.
Wheaton wouldn’t manage any more runs, however, as they were unable to move a runner past first base in the final two innings, leaving the final score at 5-3.
The third game of the series against Carthage College has been postponed until further notice, as has Wednesday’s series opener against North Central College. If weather cooperates, the Thunder will face off next against North Central on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Carol Stream. Wheaton also has a three-game CCIW series this weekend against North Park University, with game one being played on Friday at North Park at 7 p.m., and games two and three on Saturday in Carol Stream at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.