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Moore and Nicholson Dazzle on the Mound in Sweep

Sunday, April 22, 2012  
Posted by: Brian Vanden Acker
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LOVES PARK, Ill. – After scoring runs at a blistering pace over the last five games, 84 to be exact, it was the Rockford pitching staff that led the team to a sweep over Lakeland on Saturday.  The Regents were only able to score a total of 5 runs during the doubleheader as the Muskies’ pitching was very impressive.  However, the Regents pitching staff was even better, as they surrendered 0 runs over 18 innings of work.  Rockford’s sweep over Lakeland improves the Regents’ record to 11-1 against the Muskies since joining the Northern Athletics Conference in the fall of 2006. 

Game one took just under ninety minutes as the two teams combined for just 9 hits in a pair of outstanding pitching performances.  Senior pitcher Jake Nicholson (Stillman Valley, Ill./Stillman Valley) was phenomenal on the mound again for Rockford.  Nicholson, after throwing a one-hitter two weeks earlier, went 5.2 innings before surrendering his first hit of the game.  The senior right-hander was in only one jam the entire day which occurred in the seventh inning when he loaded the bases with no outs.  Nicholson was able to induce a line drive double play at first base and then strike out the next batter end the threat.  The Regents offense would break the 0-0 tie in the bottom of the 8th inning scoring 3 runs.  Senior center fielder Curt Daughenbaugh (Dakota, Ill./Dakota) would lead off the inning with a single.  The senior would advance to second on a bunt and third on a groundout to get into prime scoring position with 2 outs.  After a walk by Kipton Bucey (Byron, Ill./Stillman Valley), it was senior third baseman Kevin Miller (Elk Grove, Ill./Elk Grove) who would deliver the big hit of the game.  Miller would double to deep left center scoring runs and breaking the 0-0 tie.  Right fielder Daryn Streed (Belvidere, Ill./North) would tack on another run with an RBI single making it a 3-0 Rockford lead heading into ninth inning.  Nicholson would need only one of those three runs as he would retire the Muskies in order to preserve the 3-0 win.  The senior threw his NAC leading 4th complete game of the season and stuck out a season-high 12 batters while allowing just 3 hits in route to his 4th win of the season.

Game two was nearly identical to game one as both starting pitchers were great on the mound.  Junior Justin Moore (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) was absolutely superb on the hill in game two for the Regents.  Moore went 3 innings before surrendering his first hit of the game and would give up just 2 hits and never really get in any major trouble during his seven innings of work.  The left-hander set a new career best at Rockford striking out 12 batters while walking just 1 on the way to picking up his third win of the season.  Moore has now gone 11 straight innings without surrendering a run.  The Rockford offense would get Moore some early run support scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning.  Jake Nicholson and Ryan Lesner (Algonquin, Ill./Harry D. Jacobs) would open the inning with back-to-back singles to start the offensive threat.  After a sacrifice bunt and a hit batsman loaded the bases, Jake Gorsuch (Cherry Valley, Ill./Jefferson) would drive in the first run of the game on an RBI groundout.  The Regents would increase their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.  Ryne Billesbach (Belvidere, Ill./North) started the inning off with a double over the left fielder’s head.  Billesbach would advance to third on a sacrifice bunt, scoring on throwing error on the same play.  Daryn Streed would take over for Moore on the mound in the eighth inning looking to pick up his first save of the season.  Streed would retire the side in order in the eighth inning before getting himself into a jam in the ninth.  The junior walked the first two batters before getting an out on a sacrifice bunt which placed runners on second and third with only one out.  The righty would buckle down to strike out the next batter, his third of the game, and get the following hitter to ground out to third to earn his first save of the season.  The series sweep over Lakeland improves the Regents to 16-14 this season with an 11-3 NAC record, keeping them in first place.

After a day off on Sunday, the baseball team will head to Watertown, Wis. to face the Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders in a doubleheader on Monday.  The first pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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