Baseball Clinches Playoff Berth; Dercks Breaks Hits Record
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Posted by: Regents Sports Information
VERONA, Wis. – The Rockford College baseball team was looking to clinch a spot in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament on Sunday when the team headed up to Wisconsin for a doubleheader against the Edgewood College Eagles. On a cold and rainy afternoon, it was the Regents pitching staff that led the team to a sweep over the Eagles.
The opening game of the doubleheader turned out to be a pitcher’s duel. Senior Jake Nicholson (Stillman Valley, Ill./Stillman Valley) shined on the mound in game one for the Regents. The senior tossed his fifth complete game so far this year and his third complete game shutout. Nicholson scattered nine hits and struck out seven batters while only walking one to improve his record to 5-2 this season. Including his effort today, Nicholson has now thrown eighteen consecutive scoreless innings.
The Rockford offense, lead by senior captain Jimmy Dercks (Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna), was able to provide just enough support for its starting pitcher. The Regents would get things going in the top of the fourth inning when senior first baseman Ryan Lesner (Algonquin, Ill./Harry D. Jacobs) drew a one-out walk. Two batters later, senior Curt Daughenbaugh (Dakota, Ill./Dakota) lined a single in center field for his first hit of the game putting runner s on first and second. Dercks would collect the first of his four RBI in game one on a two-out single into center field giving the Regents a 1-0 lead. The game would remain 1-0 until the top of the sixth inning when the Regents would get a record breaking hit. Once again it was Lesner who got the big inning started drawing a leadoff walk. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk by Daughenbaugh, Jimmy Dercks would etch his name into the Rockford College baseball record books when he stepped up to the plate. Dercks drove the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a 3-run home run to make it a 4-0 lead. That home run marked the 211th hit of Dercks’ career and broke the school record for hits in career set back in 2010. The Regents held the Eagles scoreless for the remainder of the game winning game one 4-0 and clinching a spot in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament.
The second game of the doubleheader was once a low scoring battle on the mound. Junior Justin Moore (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) was again stellar on the mound, earning a win in his fourth straight decision. The left-hander threw his first complete game of the year holding the Eagles to just one run. Moore scattered 8 hits allowing one run while striking out one and walking none. With the win Moore improved to 4-1 on the mound this season.
The Regents were able to produce three one-run innings in game two in support of Moore to secure the sweep. Ryne Billesbach (Belvidere, Ill./North) got the offense started in the second inning hustling out a high chopper to the shortstop for a one-out single. After advancing to second on a fielder’s choice and later third on a wild pitch, it was once again Dercks who would drive him in on single into left field for his fifth RBI of the doubleheader. The Eagles scored their first run of the day in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1. However, the Regents would get the run right back in the next half inning. Nicholson and Lesner hit back-to-back two-out doubles with Lesner driving in his twenty-third RBI this year. Rockford added an insurance run in the top of the sixth making it a 3-1 ballgame. Curt Daughenbaugh, Jake Gorsuch (Cherry Valley, Ill./Jefferson), and Jimmy Dercks loaded the bases with no out to start the inning with Daughenbaugh later scoring on a double play ball. The game would be halted and later called after six innings due to rain with Rockford getting a 3-1 win. The win keeps the Regents in first place in the Northern Athletics Conference with just four games remaining. The baseball team will return to the diamond on Monday, April 30th for a doubleheader against Wisconsin Lutheran College. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.