FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Rockford University baseball team returned to action today against the Coast Guard Academy. The Regents were seeking their third straight victory to start the season. Rockford was able to earn the victory and become the first team to open the season with three straight victories since 2010. The Regents overcame a slow start to score six unanswered runs to ultimately trump the Bears 6-3.
Coast Guard was able to jump out to an early lead with Rockford's sloppy play in the first two innings. The Regents were down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the second inning. The comeback started in the second inning when Chris Carlson (Schaumburg, Ill.) reached on a walk and advanced to third base with two outs. He then scored on a wild pitch to narrow the deficit to 3-1. After a scoreless top half of the third inning, Rockford tacked on another run when Bryce Hinkelman (Ottawa, Ill.) scored on another wild pitch to bring the score to 3-2.
In the fourth inning the Regents again added a run to tie the game up when Hinkelman hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Britton Seivert (Rockford, Ill.) from third base. The run knotted the game up at 3-3 heading into the fifth inning. In the fifth, Rockford tacked on two more runs to take a 5-3 lead. The first run came when Carlson roped an RBI double to right field to plate Jose Miranda (Yuma, Ariz.) from second base. Seivert followed Carlson with a beautiful squeeze bunt to bring in Mitchell Gorsuch (Cherry Valley, Ill.) from third base.
The score remained the same, 5-3, until the bottom of the eight inning when the Regents added another insurance run when Nathan Burris (Oglesby, Ill.) stole home when Josh Bergbreiter (Elk Grove, Ill.) faked a steal to get in a rundown. The well executed play gave Rockford their sixth run of the game and a 6-3 lead. Ultimately, they prevailed by the same score.
Joseph Valdez (Tucson, Ariz.) started on the mound for the Regents. Valdez had to deal with a bit of tough luck but ultimately battled through to notch the victory. He threw 5 innings allowing 3 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits and striking out 6. Chad Thompson (Morton Grove, Ill.) came in and slammed the door shut on Coast Guard. Thompson was outstanding in the game throwing 4 innings without allowing a hit and striking out three. For his effort he notched his first collegiate save.
Offensively Mitchell Gorsuch led the Regent attack going 2-for-3 with a run scored and drawing a walk. Britton Seivert went 2-for-2 with a run scored an RBI and a walk. Chris Carlson went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Also, the Regents showed great patience at the plate by earning 8 walks in the game.
RU returns to action tomorrow, March 5, with two games against Baldwin Wallace and Thiel. Games will begin at 8 and 11 a.m. CST in Fort Myers, Fla.