LOVES PARK, Ill. - The Rockford University Baseball team (13-15) dropped its second straight non-conference game in as many days, falling 6-1 to the Beloit College Buccaneers (15-12). Although the Regents never led in the game, Rockford was either tied or within striking distance for nearly the entire evening. Unfortunately, it was the Bucs who scored in three straight innings, including a pair of runs in the fifth and seventh, en route to the win.
The game got off to a fast start as both the Regents and Bucs were able to scratch across a run in the first inning without recording a hit. Beloit jumped out to the 1-0 lead as the Buccaneers took advantage of a walk and a Rockford error to score their run. The Regents wasted little time responding, as they tied the game with a single run in the bottom half of the frame. Senior Kraemer Brandt (Elk Grove, Ill.) led off the Regent half of the first with a hit by a pitch to put a runner on base with no one out. Brandt would then move to second on a wild pitch and to third on a balk to get into scoring position with just one out. Fellow senior Bryce Hinkelman (Ottawa, Ill.) then drove in Brandt with a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at 1-1.
Following a trio of scoreless innings, the Bucs would retake the lead the in the fifth. Beloit scored two runs off two hits and took advantage of one Rockford error to move back in front 3-1. However, Rockford had a chance to respond in the bottom half of the frame as the Regents strung together two hits of their own. Kraemer Brandt once again got the Regent offense started with a perfectly placed one-out bunt single to first base. Two batters later, Bryce Hinkelman crushed a two-out double into the left field corner that looked like it would score a run. Unfortunately, Beloit made a pair of perfect relay throws from the left field wall to cut the Regents down at the plate and end the inning.
The Buccaneers then began to take control of the game with a single run in the sixth and two more runs in the seventh, to take a commanding 6-1 lead. Rockford never really threatened for the remainder of the evening and fell by a final score of 6-1.
The Rockford offense was led by the trio of Kraemer Brandt, Bryce Hinkelman and Christian Garcia (Maricopa, Ariz.). Brandt was all over the base paths on Thursday, reaching base in three of his four plate appearances. He finished with a single, a walk, a hit by pitch, a stolen base and a run scored. Hinkelman drove in Rockford's only run of the day, going 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Garcia also had a nice game at the plate, going 2-for-4 to record his second multi-hit performance of the season.
The Regents threw five different pitchers on Thursday. Senior Thomas Bolen (Tucson, Ariz.) started the game and gave the Regents three solid innings on the mound. Bolen allowed just one hit and one unearned run, while striking out three. Junior Doug Murphey (Fox Lake, Ill.) and freshman Christian Dahlstrom (Clermont, Fla.) each threw a scoreless inning late in the game out of the bullpen. Murphey allowed no hits and struck out two in the eighth, while Dahlstrom allowed a single hit in the ninth.
The RU baseball team returns to action on Saturday, April 28 at home against Wisconsin Lutheran. First pitch is set for 1 PM at Rivets Stadium.