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Nicholson Throws 1-Hitter as Regents Sweep Falcons

Saturday, April 07, 2012  
Posted by: Regents Sports Information
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MEQUON, Wis. – Fresh off its split with then #19 Concordia University Chicago, the baseball team headed on the road to Concordia University Wisconsin to face the Falcons trying keep its momentum going.  It turned out to be a great day to be a Regent as the baseball team would sweep the Falcons and stay within one game of first place in the Northern Athletics Conference.

The story of the day was senior pitcher Jake Nicholson (Stillman Valley, Ill./Stillman Valley) who threw game one for the Regents.  Nicholson has been lights-out in his previous two starts entering Saturday’s game and was nearly unhittable against the Falcons.  The senior cruised through the entire game baffling Falcon hitters during his nine innings of work.  Nicholson threw 8.2 innings of no-hit ball and staring at no-hitter in the eyes when a Concordia Wisconsin hitter lined a fastball into centerfield for a hit.  Nicholson would retire the next batter to throw his third straight complete game and improve to 3-1 this year.  The senior struck out nine batters to raise his season total to 29 and tie him for the 3rd most strikeouts in the Northern Athletics Conference.

The Regents gave Nicholson plenty of run support to work with during the game.  Ryne Billesbach (Belvidere, Ill./North) got the offense stared in the second inning and placed himself into scoring position when he laced a one-out double down the left field line.  After a balk moved him to second, Billesbach would score on a Ryan Lesner (Algonquin, Ill./Harry D. Jacobs) sacrifice fly.  Rockford would take the 1-0 lead into the third where it would tack on four more runs and essentially seal the game.  It was once again a one-out double that would get things going for the Regent offense, this time by shortstop Jimmy Dercks (Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna).  Next batter, Kipton Bucey (Byron, Ill./Stillman Valley) would single into center field to put runners on the corners with one out.  One batter later, Kevin Miller (Elk Grove, Ill./Elk Grove) would take advantage with an RBI double down the left field line.  Junior Daryn Streed (Belvidere, Ill./North) would keep the inning going with an RBI single of his own into left field giving Rockford a 3-0 lead.  Nicholson would then help himself out with an RBI single through the left side of the infield making it 4-0.  The final run of the inning would come courtesy of a Billesbach RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Streed.  The Regents would add another run in the 6th when Jimmy Dercks doubled and would later score on a Kevin Miller single.  Rockford would add to its lead with another run in the 8th on a Streed sacrifice fly and 3 runs in the ninth with the final two runs coming on a Kevin Miller 2-run single through the left side.  It was a complete team effort for the Regents leading to a 10-0 win.

Rockford would pick up in game two right where it left off in game one.  The offense would score 4 runs in the first three innings to go up 4-0.  The first run would come on RBI groundout by Streed in the top of the first inning.  The Regents would score more 2 runs in the second with the first coming on a singles by Dercks and Bucey.  The final of the first four runs came courtesy of a passed ball in the top of the fourth.  Concordia Wisconsin would strike for its first run of the day in the bottom of the third to make it a 4-1 ballgame.  The offense would get the run back and add another run in the top of the fourth inning.  Lesner would bring in the first run on with an RBI single with Billesbach driving in the second run of the inning.  Rockford would put the game out of reach scoring 4 more runs in the top of the fifth making it a 10-1 Rockford lead.  That would be more than enough run support for Rockford sophomore starting pitcher Kaleb Rich (Washington, Iowa/Washington).   Rich would pick up his first win of the season throwing 6.2 strong innings on the mound.   Rich has pitched far better than his record would indicate this season being the victim of multiple tough luck losses.  The sophomore again gave up just 1 earned run and struck out 3 batters.  Corey Seipts (Rockton, Ill./Hononegah) was the most impressive of the 3 relievers who combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings of the game.  Seipts worked 1.1 innings on the hill allowing no runs and striking out two.  The 11-6 win improves the Regents to 4-2 in the NAC and put them just 1 game out of first place.

It was an offensive outburst for the Rockford hitters in Saturday’s doubleheader.  The Regents were led at the plate by senior Kevin Miller.  Miller went 6-10 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored during the doubleheader.  Miller’s 4 hits, 4 RBI and 2 doubles in game one all tied single-game highs for Rockford so far this season.  In addition to his stellar effort on the mound, Nicholson was also very good at the plate going 4-8 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.  Nicholson leads the team with 17 RBI and a .525 slugging percentage.  Ryne Billesbach was the ignition switch for the Rockford offense in game one.  Billesbach was 4-6 at the plate driving in 3 runs and scoring 2 runs.  Leadoff hitter Jimmy Dercks continued to improve upon his impressive senior season.  Dercks went 5-10 with 2 doubles, 3 runs scored and an RBI.  The senior is tied for the team-high with 17 runs scored and 11 walks.  Cleanup hitter Daryn Streed scored 3 runs and drove in 4 runs in the sweep of Concordia Wisconsin.  

The baseball team returns to RiverHawks Stadium on Monday, April 9th for a doubleheader against Marian University.  First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.

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