Monmouth Baseball Splits with Knox on Wednesday

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The Monmouth College baseball team played a home doubleheader against Knox on Wednesday. The Scots (11-11, 4-6) dropped the opener 4-3 before run-ruling the Prairie Fire 12-2 in game two.

Knox scored a run off Monmouth starter Ethan Zaayenga (Tremont, Illinois) in the top of the first with a double and a single. The Scots responded in the bottom of the inning. Clayton Matkovic (Sherrard, Illinois) led off with a walk and moved up on a single by Daniel Lummus (New Port Richey, Florida). Alexander Dye (Albuquerque, New Mexico) tied the game with a single but the Scots left two on base.

Knox regained the lead with a run in the second inning. Monmouth left the bases loaded in the third and Knox plated two unearned runs in the fourth to lead 4-1.

Monmouth rallied in the ninth. Jacob Blunck (Forsyth, Illinois) led off with a walk and with one out, Aiden Scott (Carrollton, Texas) singled to left. Matkovic walked to load the bases and Tyler Houck (Park Ridge, Illinois) singled home two runs. Down 4-3 with the tying run at third and the winning run at second, Knox won the game as Raul Guillermo (Miami, Florida) was thrown out at first base by a step on a grounder to short.

Zaayenga (2-1) took the loss but allowed just two earned runs. He struck out seven over seven innings. Toby Turnquist (Monmouth, Illinois) struck out two and allowed one hit over two shutout relief innings.

GAME TWO

Down 2-0, the Scots got the bats going in the third inning of game two. Matkovic walked and moved to third on an errant pickoff throw. Houck walked and Lummus singled home Matkovic to get the Scots on the board. Guillermo was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Dye tied the game with a single. Nate Reed (Chenoa, Illinois).grounded out but the Scots took a 3-2 lead as Lummus scored. Reed Stufflebeem (Galesburg, Illinois) walked and Blunck beat out an infield single for a 4-2 lead. Scott cleared the bases with a double for a 7-2 lead and Matkovic singled. Houck singled home Scott for an 8-2 lead as Monmouth sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning.

Roy Ralston (Macon, Illinois) kept Knox off balance all game and gave way to Tyler Sears (Bloomington, Illinois) in the sixth. Leading 8-2, Lummus led off the sixth with a walk and Guillermo doubled. Dye made it 9-2 with a single and Reed doubled home another run. Stufflebeem gave the Scots an 11-2 lead with a sacrifice fly and two batters later, Scott made it 12-2 with a sac fly.

Nick Villa (El Segundo, California) struck out the side in the seventh to secure the run-rule win. Ralston (1-2) earned the win with eight strikeouts as he allowed five hits over five innings. Sears struck out one in his shutout inning and Villa struck out all three batters he faced.

MONMOUTH MOMENTS: Matkovic, Houck, Lummus, Guillermo, Dye and Scott had hits in both gamesDye had six hits in the DH with four in game twoHouck and Dye had RBI in both gamesZaayenga tied his career-high with seven innings pitched and set a new career-high with seven strikeoutsRalston earned his first winHe set career highs with five innings and eight strikeoutsVilla has 17 strikeouts in 8.1 innings this seasonGuillermo, Reed and Scott had doubles on the dayMonmouth has scored 10 or more runs in nine games this season, winning all nine of those gamesThe Scots are 205-156-2 all-time against Knox and 22-8 under coach Betourne since the start of the 2016 seasonThe third game in the series will be played in Galesburg at a time and date yet to be announced after being rained out last weekThe Scots play at Illinois Wesleyan on Sunday with a single game at 1 p.m.

***Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***

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