Senior catcher Ryan Steen hit for his first career cycle on Saturday, April 20th, 2019, as the Blackburn Beavers swept the Eureka Red Devils in a SLIAC matchup in Eureka, Illinois. The Beavers won by the scores of 6-5, and 13-5.
In game one, Blackburn took the lead early, in the top of the second. After freshman Mitchell Binder doubled into left center, freshman Logan Presley bunted him over to third, and then sophomore Emmet Black squeezed him home, giving the Beavers a one run lead. Both teams struggled to manufacture runs through the next four innings, until Eureka had a spark of life in the bottom of the sixth. Sean Green was walked, and then stole second. He then stole third, and advanced home on a throwing error by the Beavers. With the game tied, and the bases loaded for the Red Devils, Hunter Triche batted in a run on a fielder's choice. Jake Carter was then hit by a pitch later, with the bases loaded, giving Eureka a 3-1 lead after the sixth. In the top of the seventh, after an out, junior Sammy Gordon singled into center field. Sophomore Christian Padilla then reached first on a fielder's choice, and Gordon was out at second. With the Beavers down to their last out, freshman Trevor Platt doubled into right center, advancing Padilla to third. With Platt being the tying run, freshman Tyler Jackson had a great at bat as he walked, loading the bases for senior Jonathan Stepp. Stepp, after fighting off pitches, managed to knock both runs in on an error by the shortstop. The game was tied 3-3, and went into extra innings after a scoreless bottom of the seventh. The Beavers regained their lead in the top of the ninth, when a similar scenario was played out by the Beavers. Gordon stayed hot at the plate and singled into center once again. Padilla then bunted and reached first on a fielder's choice. With runners at first and second, Platt then bunted them over, and gave the top of the Beaver's lineup a chance to blow the game open. Jackson was walked, and Stepp drove in two more runs on a single to left field. Sophomore Steven Diaz then bunted Jackson home, giving the Beavers a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. The Red Devils notched two more runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the strong pitching of senior reliever Dalton Fisher stopped the Red Devils from winning the game, when he forced a flyout to end it. Multiple Beavers had multiple extra base hits during the game, allowing for easy scoring and a hot day at the plate for the Beavers. Jonathan Stepp lasted five innings during the game, striking out five, walking four and allowing two earned runs. Sammy Gordon took the win for the Beavers, pitching three innings, striking out four and walking two. Fisher had the save for the Beavers. Mason Diederich took the loss for the Red Devils. He pitched two innings, striking out one and walking two, while allowing one earned run.
Senior Ryan Steen hit for the cycle in the second game of the doubleheader, which was switched to a seven inning game due to the fact that the first game went into extra innings. In the top of the first, Tyler Jackson was hit by a pitch, and then bunted over by Stepp. Steven Diaz then reached first on an error by the Red Devils, allowing Jackson to reach third. Mitchell Binder then doubled into center field, scoring Jackson and advancing Diaz to third. Steen then singled into left field, scoring Diaz. Sammy Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Binder, continuing the first inning Blackburn attack. Logan Presley then doubled into right field, advancing Steen to third. Padilla then singled into left field, scoring Steen and Presley. After the first inning, the Beavers were sitting with a comfortable 5-0 lead, but the Red Devils slowly began to crawl back. In the bottom of the first, second and third inning, the Red Devils scored one run. With the score being 5-3 in the top of the fourth, the Beavers manufactured some insurance runs to strengthen their grip on the game. Tyler Jackson led off by wearing another pitch for Blackburn, and then, after a failed bunt attempt, Jonathan Stepp blasted his first career home run over right field, extending the Beaver's lead. Steven Diaz then walked, and Binder once again doubled into left center. Steen then came to the plate and blasted a double to the center field wall, scoring Binder and Diaz. In the bottom of the fifth, Isaiah Davis doubled to left center and scored a run for the Red Devils. Sean Green then singled, scoring Davis, closing the gap in scoring from 9-3 to 9-5. However, these would be the last runs that Eureka would be able to come up with. In the top of the sixth, Mitchell Binder blasted a home run to left field. After crossing the plate, Ryan Steen came up and also hit one out over the left field fence. The Beavers were leading 11-5 going into the top of the seventh. With two outs, Steven Diaz singled to the shortstop. Binder singled into left field, and after talking with his teammates, Steen came up knowing he needed a triple to hit for the cycle. Steen swung at the first pitch he saw, driving the ball into right field. After a diving attempt, the ball got past the right fielder, and allowed Steen to reach third standing up. He scored Diaz and Binder, giving Blackburn the 13-5 lead they would finish the game with.
"I knew what I had to do." said Steen, after he hit for the cycle. "The only chance I had at a triple was hitting a ball down the right field line, because they were playing me to pull so far. I had my mind set on driving the ball that way before I went to the plate."
Steen continues to lead the team in home runs as well as RBI's. He has five home runs and 29 RBI's on the season.
With this set of wins, the Beavers are now 5-23, and 3-11 in the SLIAC. The Beavers will take on the postponed Principia games on Monday, April 22nd, at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. Game one is set to start at 1:00 p.m.