The Prairie Fire had a tough week of baseball as they opened MWC play against Cornell College. After splitting a doubleheader at home on Saturday, winning 9-7 in game one and falling 13-10 in the second, Knox proceeded to drop a pair of games in Mt. Vernon the very next day. A 4-3 loss over the course of 14 grueling innings was an especially harsh blow for the Prairie Fire. To cap the week, they dropped a nonconference match to Illinois Wesleyan University 9-2.
While Knox may have been 1-4 over the week, there were still positives to glean from the games. Freshman Ryan Weitendorf was huge in the first doubleheader against Cornell, as he went 4-6 at the plate and scored three runs. In the second doubleheader, Knox saw spectacular starting pitching as junior Nathaniel Grady and senior Peter Marquardt combined for just three earned runs over 16 innings, effectively quieting the Rams’ offense. While the losses may look daunting now, if the pitching can keep up, it’s only a matter of time before the bats warm up.
April has not been kind to the Prairie Fire, who have dropped three matches in the month, all to MWC North Division opponents on the road.
After a home match scheduled for April 2 against Augustana was cancelled due to inclement weather, the Prairie Fire fell to St. Norbert, Lake Forest and Carroll and remain winless on the road this season. Knox’s closest contest came against Lake Forest as the Prairie Fire took a 2-1 lead into singles play, but lost four of the six matches to finish with a 5-4 loss.
Junior Walter Palmer was the primary highlight for the Prairie Fire this weekend after winning all four of his matches. Palmer and doubles partner junior Karl Ruzgas swept their matches against St. Norbert and Lake Forest; Palmer now leads the Midwest Conference with eight victories at number one singles after winning both his singles matches. For his efforts, Palmer was named Prairie Fire Performer of the Week.
Track and Field
Sophomore Ezekiel Jere and freshman Joshua Tvrdy each notched top-five finishes in the 1500 meter run to help the Knox College men’s track team place sixth out of nine teams at the Ashford Universty Spring Invitation last weekend.
Senior Tim Worrell had Knox’s final top-five finish after his his 39.53 meter throw in the discuss was good enough for fifth in the event.
On the women’s side the Prairie Fire finished fifth in the eight team competition. Juniors ShirJia Bielefeld and Colleen Shelly finished third and fifth in the pole vault and 400 meter hurdles respectively.
The Prairie Fire next compete at Lee Calhoun Invitational on the campus of Western Illinois on Apr. 11 and 12.
Note: Information from the Knox College Sports Information Department was used in this report.