Baseball team sweeps McKendree, have ‘consistent success’

Zane Clodfelter

Senior third baseman Reece Rounder has experienced the highs and lows that the game of baseball provides throughout his collegiate career as an Eagle.

“I was on the 2010 team and it couldn’t have gotten much better – we went all the way,” Rounder said. “We had a phenomenal run, winning the national championship.”

The Eagles have since enjoyed success under head coach Tracy Archuleta, but the disappointment of missing the GLVC Tournament last year for the first time in his career still resonates in the mind of the Eagles’ starting third baseman.

“That was really disappointing, so for some of us here, last year gives us a lot of fire to play hard every day, to get back there,” Rounder said.

For Rounder and his teammates, looking to get back into GLVC Tournament play seems to be so far, so good.

The Eagles have won 15 of 17 games, including a four-game sweep of GLVC East division opponent McKendree this past weekend on campus. USI (29-15, 18-14 GLVC) outscored the Bearcats 18-5, putting them in position to return to the GLVC Tournament after not qualifying for the event last year.

For the second straight season, the GLVC Tournament will be played in Evansville, with tournament sites at USI and Bosse Field.

USI senior catcher Colton White vividly remembers the disappointment of not being able to play while helping out with field prep during last year’s event.

“Its not fun getting the field ready here (on campus) and at Bosse Field for other teams in your conference when you know that you can compete with them,” White said. “We’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to keep winning and playing our hearts out.”

White says Archuleta preaches “intensity” to he and his teammates, and that has helped with the Eagles resurgence after stumbling to a 3-9 record to begin the GLVC season.

“He’s been telling us to keep our intensity up; we were never out of it,” White said. “As long as we keep having fun and keep the intensity up by playing our game, there isn’t a team in the country that can beat us.”

Archuleta also focused on getting back to the fundamentals when the Eagles were struggling at the plate.

“The game of baseball is funny – you go through hot streaks and cold streaks and it’s about being able to get going again after a cold streak,” Archuleta said. “These guys did it.”

The Eagles will travel to Louisville this weekend for their final series of the GLVC season, facing Bellarmine University in a four-game series with game one on Friday.

Currently, the Eagles sit in the second wildcard spot for the GLVC Tournament and are ranked second in the latest Midwest region rankings.

Regardless of how the next few weeks develop, Archuleta credits his seniors for the consistent success that his program has enjoyed over the last several seasons.

“Each one of them has made a contribution, not just on the field,” Archuleta said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys who care about what they are doing.”