FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Rockford University baseball team (1-1) split its two games on Saturday, defeating the Thiel College Tomcats (2-5) 14-9, before falling 11-10 to the Plymouth State Panthers (2-0). The Regent offense opened the season clicking on all cylinders. In the two games combined, Rockford scored 24 runs off 24 hits. It was the first time the Regents scored in double-figures in back-to-back games since April 24, 2016.
Rockford University 14 Thiel College 9
- Thiel struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. The Tomcats used a walk and two hits, including a triple, to take a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second.
- Rockford responded by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs in the bottom half of the frame. Logan Streit (Harvard, Ill.) drove in the first run of the season with an RBI infield single. Hunter Fiorito (Batavia, Ill.) then tied the game at 2-2 with a two-out RBI walk. One batter later, Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.) was hit by a pitch, scoring Streit, and giving Rockford a 3-2 lead. The Regents then extended their lead to 4-2, following a Corey Saracco (Montgomery, Ill.) RBI single. The biggest hit of the day though came one batter later, when Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Ill.) belted a grand slam over the left field wall, to put the Regents out in front 8-2.
- The Tomcats cut into Rockford's lead with single runs over each of the next two innings, making it an 8-4 game heading into the bottom of the fifth.
- Rockford answered back with single runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Christian Garcia (Maricopa, Ariz.) got the offense started in the fifth with a two-out double down the left field line. The Regents then took advantage of a Tomcat error to extend their lead to 9-4. In the sixth, Jacob Rillamas (Yuma, Ariz.) and Hunter Fiorito strung together back-to-back hits to put runners on the corners with no one out. One batter later, Brett Down made it a 10-4 RU lead with a sacrifice fly to center field.
- Things got a little dicey over the next two innings, as Thiel responded with five runs to pull back within a single run. The Tomcats scored two runs off three hits in the seventh and three runs off four hits in the eighth.
- Fortunately, Rockford put the game away in the bottom of the eighth with four runs of its own. The Regents began the inning with five straight hits, including an RBI single from Hunter Fiorito. Two batters later, Iszak Mestas (Burbank, Ill.) drew a walk to force in the third run of the inning. Senior Kyle Waugh then made it a 14-9 RU lead with a sacrifice fly to left field.
- The Tomcats went down in order in the ninth, as Rockford opened its season with a 14-9 win.
Plymouth State 11 Rockford University 10
- Game two got off to a similar start for Rockford, as Plymouth State struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The Panthers scored two runs off two hits, including back-to-back doubles to take a 2-0 lead.
- Rockford wasted little time responding, scoring a single run in the bottom half of the inning. Hunter Fiorito led off the frame with an infield single. Fiorito then stole second and scored a couple of batters later on a Kyle Waugh RBI double.
- The Regents continued their hot hitting with a five-run second inning. Following a pair of one-out walks, Iszak Mestas ripped a two-run double into left field, to put the Regents out in front 3-2. Two batters later, senior Brett Down smacked an RBI single down the left field line, making it a 4-2 game. Rockford would add two more runs in the inning, the first off a Christian Garcia RBI single, and the other off a Michael Gunter (Maricopa, Ariz.) hit by pitch.
- Unfortunately, the Panthers scored five runs over the next two innings to retake the lead. Plymouth State scored three runs off just one hit in the third, followed by two runs off three hits in the fourth, to take a 7-6 advantage.
- The Regents however would regain the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cristian Bermeo (Chicago, Ill.) led off the inning with a single into center. Troy Tucci (Wood Dale, Ill.) then tied the game with an RBI triple into deep center. Two batters later, Rockford retook the lead on a Hunter Fiorito sacrifice fly.
- The back-and-forth scoring affair continued in the sixth when Plymouth State scored two runs to retake the lead. With one out and a runner on third, Josh Goulet hit his third home run of the game to give his team a 9-8 lead.
- Rockford would then tie the game with a single run in the bottom half of the frame. Christian Garcia jump-started the RU offense with a one-out double. He then moved to third on a groundout and later scored on a wild pitch.
- The game would remain tied until both teams scored in the ninth. The Panthers struck first with two runs on just one hit in the top half of the inning to jump back in front 11-9.
- The Regents pulled back within a single run when Iszak Mestas crushed a solo shot over the left center field wall. Unfortunately, the Panthers struck out the next two batters to hang on for the 11-10 win.
- Zachary Jones (Rockford, Ill.) picked up the win on the mound for the Regents. Jones threw 6.1 innings and struck out six.
- Hunter Fiorito went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored and a walk.
- Michael Gunter and Jacob Rillamas each went 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored.
- Bryson Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) was also 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Christian Garcia finished 2-for-5 with a double and 2 runs scored.
- Kyle Waugh went 1-for-3 with a grand slam, 5 RBIs, 2 runs scored and a walk.
- Brett Down was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.
- Iszak Mestas was just a triple away from the cycle on Saturday. Mestas went 3-for-5 with a single, a double, a home run, 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored. It was the first home run of his collegiate career.
- Christian Garcia was the other Regent with a multi-hit performance in the game. Garcia went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored.
- Troy Tucci was 1-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and a run batted in.
- Hunter Fiorito, Brett Down, Kyle Waugh and Michael Gunter all drove in a run.
The Rockford University baseball team returns to the diamond on Monday, March 11 against Pitt.-Bradford. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for noon local time.