Looking to continue a second-half surge that has moved the Archers to a season-best four games above .500, the Archers traveled to North Central Missouri College last weekend for a four-game series.
Though they settled for a split, STLCC has either split or won each of its past nine doubleheaders. The Archers have not suffered a doubleheader sweep since March 17 at Kaskaskia College.
Anchoring the Archers bullpen is right-hander Donald Lovelady, who pitched three innings in relief in the final game of the four-game set to earn his fourth save of the season. Lovelady backed up starter Luke Boyster, who improved his record to 5-1 by pitching six innings of three-run ball on eight hits. Boyster has logged at least five innings in each of his six starts this season.
Offensively, the Archers continue to be led by an outfield that has a starter at each position hitting .327 or better. Sophomore right fielder Brandon Gutzler pounded a pair of home runs in the Archers’ 7-5 win over North Central Saturday, giving him a team-best 11 on the year. He’s also batting .404 with 45 RBI in 114 at-bats. Twenty of his 46 hits have gone for extra bases.
Also providing an offensive spark has been sophomore infielder Jacob Walters, who was the team’s hottest hitter last week. Walters has four three-hit games in his last six starts, and despite missing nearly two weeks of games, leads the Archers with a .456 batting average. Had he received enough plate appearances to rank among statistical leaders, Walters’ batting mark would rank 14th nationally.
The Archers and their recently robust offense will return home Wednesday, when they will host a doubleheader against Lewis and Clark Community College. STLCC is 2-0 against Lewis and Clark on the season, having outscored the Trailblazers 27-12 in a doubleheader sweep on March 31.