Rockford's Late Inning Rally Falls just Short
MEQUON, Wis. - The Rockford College baseball team took the field Friday morning hoping to extend its season by at least one more game. Rockford needed a win over twentieth-ranked Concordia University Chicago in order to advance in the 2013 Northern Athletics Conference Tournament and avoid elimination. Coming into Friday's game, the Regents had lost four straight to the Cougars including a game in last season's Northern Athletics Conference Tournament. This year's postseason matchup ended with the same result as Rockford lost a heartbreaker 7-5.
The game did not get off to a great start for Rockford as the Regents dug themselves into an early hole. Concordia Chicago took advantage of a few Regent miscues to score 4 runs, including a pair of unearned runs, and grab a quick 4-0 lead after two innings.
In the bottom of the third inning the Regents took advantage of a Cougar error and cut deficit in half. After a Concorida Chicago error allowed the leadoff runner to reach base, outfielder Jacob Gorsuch (Cherry Valley, Ill./Jefferson) placed a bunt single down the third base line giving his team runners on first and second with no one out. Following a bunt that advanced both runners 90 feet, freshman Cole Logemann (Lena, Ill./Lena-Winslow) delivered Rockford's first big hit of the tournament. Logemann drove an 0-2 pitch into right center field for 2-run double making it just a two-run game.
Concordia Chicago answered back in the fifth and grabbed its largest lead of the afternoon. The Cougars used 3 hits and a pair of walks to record their second 3-run inning of the game and extend its lead to 7-2.
Just when it appeared as though the Cougars had the game in hand, the Rockford offense scored in consecutive innings to pull back within three runs. Adrian Gameros (Rialto, Calif./Carter) reached base with a one-out walk and Cole Logemann followed with his third hit of the game to put runners on the corners with one out. Senior Daryn Streed (Belvidere, Ill./North) knocked in his first run of the tournament scoring Gameros on a sacrifice fly. One inning later Matt Grimes (O'Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) manufactured the Regents next run. After reaching on a fielder's choice, Grimes stole second and then advanced to third on a groundout. He then got into a rundown after being picked off but was able to score when the third baseman lost the ball as he dove to try and tag out Grimes at the plate. The run cut the Cougar lead to just 7-4.
The Regents were able to find their way back into the game thanks in large part to an excellent pitching performance from junior Kaleb Rich (Washington, Iowa/Washington). Rich came into the game with one out in the fifth inning and completely silenced the Cougar bats. The junior surrendered just 2 hits over his 4.2 innings on the mound and gave up 0 runs. He also struck out 4 batters including the final Cougar hitter of the game.
Rich's solid pitching performance helped to put his team in position to make one final push in the ninth down 7-4. The inning started off well as a pair of pinch hitters reached base for Rockford. Brian Wiest (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) advanced to first on a Concordia Chicago error and Kyle LaMore (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley) singled to left center to bring the tying run to the plate. The Cougars then went to the bullpen hoping to end the Rockford rally. The new Concordia pitcher struck out the first batter, but then surrendered an infield single to Adrian Gameros to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate. The Cougars then got their second strike out of the inning leaving the Regents with just one out left in their season. However, Daryn Streed was not ready to see his season end as the senior laced a pitch into center field scoring one run and now putting the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on first base. That brought up Chris Senn (Apple Valley, Calif./Silverado) who lined the first pitch he saw into the left center gap; however, the speedy Concordia Chicago left fielder made an outstanding full extension running catch to end the game. Had the ball gotten past the Cougar left fielder all three runs most likely would have scored allowing Rockford to win the game, but it was not meant to be as the Regents fell 7-5 and were eliminated from the NAC Tournament.
Third baseman Cole Logemann had one of the more impressive hitting performances in the NAC Tournament against Concordia Chicago. Logemann went went 4-5 with a pair of doubles and 2 runs batted in. His two doubles tied the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament record for most doubles in a game by an individual, and his four hits was just one shy of the tying the NAC Tournament single game hits record. The freshman also played probably his best game at third base this season recording three assists including a phenomenal diving play to his left.
Rockford finishes the 2013 season with a 17-23 overall record and a 15-7 Northern Athletics Conference record. The Regents finished fourth in the NAC in the final regular season standings and qualified for the conference tournament for the sixth time in the seven seasons since joining the conference for the 2007 season.