CLINTON - Peyton Long pitched seven strong innings Thursday to help the 16th-ranked Kirkwood Eagles defeat DMACC, 9-1, in the opening round of the regional baseball tournament at Ashford University Field.
The Eagles (37-14-1) will play in the winner's bracket semifinals Friday at noon versus NIACC. The game was moved up from the original 3 p.m. start in anticipation of rainy weather in Friday's forecast.
Long (3-2) allowed only one run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out four batters and walked three.
Cameron Cowan pitched the eighth and final inning for Kirkwood. The game ended after eight frames due to the tournament's mercy rule with the Eagles leading by eight runs.
Kirkwood scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and took a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the second.
Kirkwood sophomore Cal Clark, severely injured three weeks ago when he was hit in the face by a fastball, returned to action Thursday as the designated hitter and drew three walks. Clark fractured six bones in the injury and had two plates installed in his face to promote healing.
His doctor cleared him to play again this week and Coach Todd Rima put him right back in the lineup, with Clark determined to play again for the Eagles this season.
DMACC 010 000 00 - 1 7 1
Kirkwood 230 100 21 - 9 11 2
W - Long (3-2). L - Werner (3-6).