Royals Shutdown Regents
FORT MYERS, Fla. -It was another difficult day offensively for the Rockford College baseball team as the Bethel University Royals defeated the Regents 5-1. The Regents have seen numerous quality pitchers during their time in Fort Myers, and today was no different as Bethel University sent Matt Rowley to the mound who was named the Most Valuable Player in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference last season. To its credit, the Regents offense has made steady improvements and was able to put pressure on Rowley but were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Rockford left 7 runners on base and went 1-8 as a team with runners in scoring position.
Bethel stuck first in the bottom of the opening frame plating 2 runs before the Regents mounted their first threat of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Daryn Streed (Belvidere, Ill./North) laced a one-out single into center field and junior Terry Wiltshire (Elizabeth, Ill./River Ridge) place a hit down the right field line giving Rockford runners on second and third with only one out. Rowley dug down and retired the next two batters to end the Rockford scoring threat.
Rockford again threatened to cut into the Bethel lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior infielder Bryan Grabowski (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) led off the inning with a single down the left field line. After Steed was hit by a pitch and Wiltshire bunted the runners over, Rockford was in the same situation with runners on second and third with only one out. Again the Regents were unable to take advantage as the next two hitters went down on strikes.
The Royals put some distance between themselves and the Regents scoring a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh before Rockford was finally able to break through in the top of the eighth. Grabowski again sparked the Regents offense this time with a one-out single back up the middle. Streed and Wiltshire each followed suit with singles to load the bases with only one out. Sophomore Brian Wiest (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich)then drove in the team's only run of the game on a fielder's choice to the shortstop before the next batter struck out to end the inning.
Bethel answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth before retiring the Regents in order in the ninth to secure the 5-1 victory.
Junior pitcher Kaleb Rich (Washington, Iowa/Washington) was also impressive on the mound for Rockford in his second start of the year. Rich kept the Regents in the game throughout his start holding down the high-powered Bethel offense the entire game. The junior stranded 8 Bethel runners over his 6 plus innings of work scattering 9 hits while allowing just 3 earned runs and striking out 1 batter.
At the plate it was the top three hitters in the Rockford lineup that accounted for all 7 of the Regents hits. Daryn Streed was impossible to retire at the plate as the senior was a perfect 3-3. Streed is now hitting a team-high .469 with 15 hits, 3 doubles, 1 triple and 6 runs batted in. He also boasts an impressive .500 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage. Junior Bryan Grabowski scored the lone run for Rockford as he went 2-4 out of the leadoff spot in the order. Catcher Terry Wiltshire continued his torrid hitting this season with a 2-3 performance as the designated hitter. Wiltshire is third on the team with a .364 average, 2 runs scored and 4 runs batted in.
Rockford will conclude its spring trip with a single game on Saturday against Haverford College. First pitch is set for 9:00 AM EST at the Player Development Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.