BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey gave the baseball to a pair of freshman pitchers on opening day, and they rewarded him with quality starts. River Hunt and Shelby Quiggins each threw four scoreless innings and allowed one hit each as the Raiders split with Southwestern Illinois on Sunday, winning the first game 2-0, in what was originally schedule to be the Raiders' home opener. "Both of them threw 67 pitches, we were trying to keep them under 75, somewhere in that neighborhood, and were very sharp," Burkey said. Three Rivers is currently scheduled to play its first home game Saturday at noon, and its region opener is March 1 at noon, also at home. The bullpen behind Hunt also kept Southwestern scoreless as the Raiders (1-1) won their opener 2-0. In the nightcap, though, Southwestern scored three runs in the sixth and seven innings for a 6-5 come-from behind win. Southwestern scored the game winning run on an infield single that scored two runs with the help of a collision at first base. Catcher Ray Hill tagged out the go-ahead run, but he was called safe after the umpire ruled that Hill had illegally blocked the plate. In the opener, Preston Hart was 3 for 3 with two runs and three stolen bases from the No. 7 spot in the batting order. He was the only Raider with multiple hits as the team finished with eight total hits. Reece Reading, in his only at bat, had an RBI. "We seem to make some good solid contact. We were able to get guys in scoring position enough times that we were able to get them in," Burkey said. The Raider pitching staff held Southwestern to three hits and the top four batters were a combined 0 for 10 with two walks. After Hunt, who had five strikeouts against three walks in the win, Quentin Bowling pitched two innings in relief. Bowling allowed two hits against three strikeouts. Elvin Diaz got the save with a hitless seventh. He allowed one walk with no strikeouts. In the nightcap, Ty Lumley pitched in the loss after taking the mound in the sixth inning for the Raiders. He allowed two hits, two walks and three runs, two of them earned, in one inning of work. After Quiggins struck out four with three walks over the first four innings, Parker Dent pitched 1 1/3 with a strikeout, a walk and a run. Lane Crowley gave up a two-run home run. Garyn Stewart was 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI and was the only Raider with multiple hits. Grant Miller had two RBIs.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic