10-Run Sixth Inning Helps Regents Split with Spartans
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Posted by: Regents Sports Information
AURORA, Ill. – The baseball team headed into its doubleheader on Saturday with Aurora University looking to keep pace with the first place Spartans. Saturday’s slate of games marked the third and fourth times in the last 2 weeks that the Regents have faced a team ranked in the top 25. Back on April 1st Rockford went 1-1 against then #19 Concordia Chicago and was poised to take at least one from the Spartans on the road. The Regents are red hot as of late having gone 10-3 since returning from their spring trip and are playing their best baseball of the season.
Game one did not go according to plan for Rockford. After falling behind 5-0 through 3 innings, the Regents were able answer with 5 runs of their own in top of the 4th inning on just one hit. The lone hit in the inning came on a Jake Nicholson (Stillman Valley, Ill./Stillman Valley) single into left field. The remainder of the runs scored as the Regents had numerous quality at bats drawing 4 walks, 2 hit batsmen and one batter reaching base on catcher’s interference. The Spartans would answer right back taking an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the 4th on a 3-run home run. The Regents would not go away quietly as they would answer in the next half inning. After an error to start the inning, senior first baseman Ryan Lesner (Algonquin, Ill./Harry D. Jacobs) doubled into the left field bullpen to put runners on second and third. Senior Curt Daughenbaugh (Dakota, Ill./Dakota) would drive in both runners with a 2-run double making it an 8-7 game. Rockford would score one more run in the game on a Ryan Lesner solo home run to right field. However, it would not be enough as Aurora would score 9 more runs over the next 4 innings to win game one by a score of 17-8.
Despite all the runs in game one, pitcher James Freeman (Berwyn, Ill./Morton West) was solid in relief for Rockford. The junior came into a tough situation against the second best hitting and second highest scoring team in the conference and held the Spartans down during his two innings of work giving his offense a chance to catch up. Freeman gave up 1 run on just 1 hit and struck out 1 batter over 2 innings.
After dropping game one, it was critical that Rockford get off to a good start in game two. The Regents were able to do just that taking their first lead of the day in the top of the second inning. It was Ryan Lesner who again got the offense going with a ground ball single up the middle. Ryne Billesbach (Belvidere, Ill./North) would follow his teammate’s lead with a single of his own putting runners on the corners with one out. After Daughenbaugh drew a walk, Rockford would take its first lead of the day on an error and score its second run on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Jimmy Dercks (Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna). Left fielder Kipton Bucey (Byron, Ill./Stillman Valley) would drive in the final run of the inning on a single to center field. The Spartans would answer as they did each time in game one scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the second. However, Rockford would not get flustered but instead throw a counterpunch and increase its lead to 7-2 in the top of the third. After two quick outs, Lesner would once again start the rally by working the count to draw a walk. Billesbach would keep the inning going with a single and Daughenbaugh would get hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rockford would capitalize on an Aurora throwing error to score two runs, score the third run of the inning on a balk and the final run on a Dercks double. Again Aurora would answer erasing the Rockford 4-run third by scoring 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the third. The Spartans would take the lead their first lead of the game at 9-8 when they scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning. However, the Rockford offense would explode in the 6th inning and seize control of the game. The Regents would score 10 runs on 6 hits to take an 18-9 lead. The two biggest hits of the inning would come off the bats of Ryne Billesbach and Daryn Streed (Belvidere, Ill./North). Billesbach would smash a 2-run home run to left field and Streed would cap off the inning with a monstrous grand slam to right field. Rockford would tack on 7 more runs over the final two innings to take game two of the doubleheader 24-11. The win improves Rockford to 11-13, 7-3 in NAC play and keep the Regents just one game out of first place.
With the win Streed improved his record to 4-1 on the season. The junior threw 5 innings and struck out one batter to get the win. Sophomore Corey Seipts (Rockton, Ill./Hononegah) threw the final 3 innings of the game giving up two runs while striking out 3 batters to earn his first save of the season.
The Rockford offense had five different players record at least 3 RBI on Saturday. Jimmy Dercks continued to impress at the plate going 2-4 in game two with 5 RBI. Dercks also recorded an RBI in game one giving him six on the day along with 2 runs scored. Kipton Bucey was 5-6 in game two with 4 RBI, 2 runs scored and 3 doubles. Bucey also had an RBI in game one bringing his total up to 5 RBI for both games combined. Daryn Streed finished game two going 2-6 at the plate with a home run, driving in five and scoring two runs. Curt Daughenbaugh had 3 RBI scored 4 runs scored, walked 3 times and was hit by a pitch 3 times. Ryne Billesbach was 5-6 in game 2 with a home run and 5 runs scored. Billesbach also drove in 4 runs during the doubleheader. The baseball team returns to the diamond on Sunday, April 15th for a doubleheader against MSOE. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at RiverHawks Stadium in Loves Park, Ill.