LOVES PARK, Ill. - The Rockford University baseball team (11-11, 5-2 NACC) faced off against the Edgewood College Eagles (7-16, 4-4 NACC) on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles soared past the Regents in game two with a final of 5-1 before Rockford rallied back in game two with a score of 6-1, to steal a split with Edgewood. Rocford struggled with its bats in game one before it rebounded well in the second game. Despite the game one loss the pitching staff for the Regents played exceptional striking out a combined 21 batters during the day while only allowing just two earned runs.
In game one the Eagles struck early as they took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. With a tough defensive battle, the score remained unchanged before the Eagles struck again in the top of the fifth with one more run.
Rockford found an answer in the bottom of the sixth as RU scored one to make it just a two-run game. Austin Smith (Peru, Ill.) started the inning out for the Regents by drawing a walk. One batter later, Michael Tosado (Chicago, Ill.) singled toward the second baseman and brought Smith to second. Next up, John Mareks (Tucson, Ariz.) showed his patience as he drew a walk to load the bases for Rockford with one out. One batter later, a wild pitch advanced all the runners and scored Smith. However, the Regents would leave two runners on base in the inning.
Unfortunately, Edgewood kept it going on offensive as it scored one run in the seventh before scoring two more in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead.
Spencer Lentz did well to keep the game close during his time on the rubber as Lentz pitched 6.2 innings and retired eight batters and kept it within a two-score game. Despite allowing three runs ont the scoreboard only one of those runs were actually earned.
Joseph Kmiec (Bolingbrook, Ill.) did well in relief as he pitched 2.1 innings only giving up two hits while retiring two and giving up no earned runs.
It was not enough as Edgewood pitcher, Adam Eck was solid on the mound for the Eagles. Eck pitched a complete game striking out 13 batters, while only allowing three hits and a run.
Game two was a different story as Rockford struck first in the bottom of the second to take an early 1-0 lead. Austin Smith started the Regents out with a runner on first after he reached due to an error by the right fielder. One batter later, Michael Tosado knocked a single through the right side and advanced Smith to second. Next up, Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Minn.) sent a single to right field to load the bases for Rockford with one out. Luckily, Corey Saracco hung in tough as he wore a pitch that brought in Smith.
Come the bottom of the fourth the Regents extended their lead to 2-0 on the Eagles. With two outs things did not look in Rockford's favor, until Waugh started some momentum as he laced a single back up the middle. Saracco again would be hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs. Jacob Rillamas knocked a single to left field to bring Waugh home and add to Rockford's lead.
Zachary Jones (Rockford, Ill.) played well for the Regents on the bump as he was throwing a shutout through five innings, until a run scored in the top of the sixth to make the score 2-1.
Rockford rallied around its pitcher and got back to a comfortable lead as RU went on to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh to increase its lead to 6-1. With one out Kraemer Brandt (Elk Grove, Ill.) laid down a bunt and showed off his speed as he beat out the throw at first. Next up, Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.) drew a walk for the Regents to give Rockford runners on first and second with one out. Bryce Hinkelman (Ottawa, Ill.) then singled toward the shortstop to load the bases for Austin Smith. Smith kept the hits going as he laced a single to right center to score both Brandt and Down. After an out that advanced Smith to second and Hinkelman to third, it was Tosado up for RU. Tosado was able to reach first due a throwing error by the third baseman that allowed Smith to score following Hinkelman.
Christian Dahlstrom (Clermont, Fla.) entered the game in the top of the eighth and helped secure the 6-1 win for Rockford as he allowed zero hits and struck out two batters.
Zachary Jones did well during his time on the mound as he retired 9 Eagles through 7 innings of play, with three of those batters looking.
The Rockford University baseball team is back at it again with another home game on Sunday, April 22. The game originally scheduled to be played at Marian University will be moved to Rockford, where the Regents will play as the away team. First pitch is set for noon.