The SLU baseball team experienced their first conference losses of the season against a strong Richmond team on April 8-10 at Pitt Field in Richmond, Virginia. Despite falling to the Billikens in the first game, the Spiders won the series after winning the last two games of a three-game set.
The Billikens took the first game 13-7, hitting three home runs overall. Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Eckelman notched the win for a 6-2 record on the season.
SLU got on the board right away when redshirt-junior outfielder Trent Leimkuehler ripped a single to right field, scoring senior infielder Josh Bunselmeyer. Senior outfielder Michael Bozarth hit a solo home run in the top of the third.
The majority of the action came in the fourth inning when SLU scored six runs, including a run from Bozarth stealing home.
In the sixth and eighth innings, Bunselmeyer and sophomore James Morisano each blasted a home run, resulting in an offensively-charged 13-7 win for SLU.
Bozarth now has 16 stolen bases on the year. Bunselmeyer’s home run was his ninth of the season. He is at the top of the list for most home runs this season, and SLU has scored at least one home run in 12 of their last 14 games.
The Billikens’ bats were not getting the job done on Saturday, as they lost their first conference game, 4-2. Freshman right-handed pitcher Miller Hogan recorded the loss to fall to 3-4 this year.
The game was not exciting for either team; Richmond scored a lone run in the second inning, and neither team scored again until the eighth inning, when the Spiders connected a string of hits to bring three runners home and take a 4-0 lead. It appeared that SLU was making their way back into the game in the top of the ninth, however. Junior left-handed pitcher Devin Mahoney finally got the bat on the ball and hit a double to get Bunselmeyer across the plate. Morisano followed up with a sacrifice fly to bring Martinez in. Unfortunately, the offensive spark was squandered, and the Spiders’ defense put the game away.
SLU had one final chance to break the tie and take home the series with a win on April 10. However, a single homer from Bunselmeyer could not carry the team past the Spiders, and SLU dropped the game – and the series – with a 5-3 loss.
Bunselmeyer opened the game with a home run to left-center field to get the first two runs for the Billikens, as Bozarth was on base before Bunselmeyer went up to bat. Sophomore outfielder Parker Sniatynski also helped SLU score in the seventh inning when he hit a sacrifice fly to center field to allow Morisano to score.
The three runs were not enough to overcome Richmond’s five, and the Spiders took the victory.
Bunselmeyer now has ten home runs on the season, which puts him as the co-leader for most home runs in the conference this year. Morisano is hitting an impressive .419 in conference games. Martinez extended his on-base streak to 17 games.
The losing streak stretched to three for the Billikens on April 12 with a loss to SIUE, 6-1. The game got off to an exciting start when each team had a run a piece in the first inning. Leimkuehler singled to the left to bring in sophomore shortstop Alex King. Both fielding teams kept their opponents at bay for the next five innings, but SIUE finally broke through in the sixth inning, putting three runs on the board.
SLU could not find a way to rally, only earning two hits in the rest of the game. SIUE scored twice more to earn the win, 6-1, over the Billikens.
The men fell to 16-17 on the year. However, sophomore infielder Michael Cusenza went 3-for-4 in the game, which is a career high for him. Leimkuehler had his 13th multi-hit game of the season, and Martinez extended his on-base streak to 18 games.
SLU faced Murray State on April 13, losing 9-1.
The Billikens started out strong as before in the first inning when Leimkuehler hit an RBI single to put the Billikens up 1-0. This did not discourage Murray State, however, who earned three runs in the third inning and two more in the sixth inning.
SLU could not find an offensive streak, allowing Murray State to capitalize at the end of the game with four more runs.
The men travel to face Illinois in a three-game series on April 15-17.