LOVES PARK, Ill. - The Rockford University baseball team (9-23, 3-15 NACC) fell to a strong Aurora University Spartans team (31-8, 18-4 NACC) on Sunday afternoon. Rockford honored its seven seniors on the day, they are as follows: Cristian Bermeo (Chicago, Ill.), Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.), Hunter Fiorito (Batavia, Ill.), Doug Murphey (Fox Lake, Ill.), Joseph Valdez (Tucson, Ariz.), Bryson Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) and Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Minn.). Between the two teams they combined for 45 runs scored on the day. Unfortunately the Spartans came out on the winning side in each game as Aurora won 17-7 in game one, before winning 16-5 in seven innings in game two.
Game 1: Aurora 17 Rockford 7
- Aurora struck first in game one taking an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
- It did not take long for Rockford to answer as the Regents put a run on the board in the bottom of the third to tie the game.
- With one out Iszak Mestas (Burbank, Ill.) singled into right field. Mestas would proceed to be out at second on a fielder's choice that put Dylan Johnson (Rockford, Ill.) on first.
- Michael Gunter (Maricopa, Ariz.) smashed a double into right center that sent Johnson storming around the bases to score.
- The Spartans managed to inch ahead again in the top of the fifth with another run to take a 2-1 lead.
- Again, the Regents did well to answer as they tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
- Brett Down got things started as he cranked a double to left center.
- Two outs later, a hit batter and a walk would give Rockford bases loaded. Fortunately, a balk by the Aurora pitcher was enough to bring the tying run home.
- The flood gates opened for the Spartans offense in the seventh as they rallied off for a six-run inning to take an 8-2 lead.
- Rockford was resilient however as RU came back with three runs of its own to make it an 8-5 game heading into the eighth.
- With one out a Gunter walk and a Corey Saracco (Montgomery, Ill.) single to left would set up Brett Down.
- Down did well knocking a double to left center, scoring one and leaving runners on second and third.
- Kyle Waugh brought two runners in as he poked one through the left side to help cut into the deficit.
- Aurora did not stop there as it went off for another six-run inning in the top of the eighth to take a commanding 14-5 lead.
- The Regents would not go away quietly as they strung together a two-run inning in the bottom of the eighth.
- With one out Mestas singled toward the shortstop to get things going.
- One out later Gunter doubled again to left field to bring Mestas home. On the next at bat, Saracco laced one back up the middle to bring Gunter home.
- Unfortunately the Spartans continued to add on runs, tacking on three more in the ninth while the Regents were not able to get any back. Rockford fell in game one by a final score of 17-7.
Game 2: Aurora 16 Rockford 5 (7 innings)
- The Spartans did not waste any time in game two as they picked up where they left off in game one. A three-run homer would help propel Aurora to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
- Rockford answered right back with a two-run inning in the bottom of the first to remain within striking distance.
- Down drew a walk before a Troy Tucci (Wood Dale, Ill.) single gave RU runners on the corners.
- Michael Gunter proceeded to knock a single through the left side to score Down.
- One batter later and a runner caught stealing, Saracco singled through the left side to bring Gunter home.
- Aurora would not let up as it added two more runs in the second before adding another in the third to take a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
- Rockford kept scratching away as it added a run in the third to make it a 6-3 game.
- Down singled to center, stole second and proceeded to take third on a wild pitch.
- One batter later, Gunter cranked a double to center field to bring Down home.
- The two teams kept exchanging runs as the Spartans added two runs in the fourth and three runs in the third. Rockford managed only one run in each inning to make it an 11-5 game heading into the sixth.
- In the fourth, Saracco started it off with a single to first before Bermeo bunted to give RU runners on first and second. A wild pitch then put runners on second and third.
- TJ Jones (Chicago, Ill.) would hit a sac fly to help cut into the deficit.
- In the fifth inning, with two outs, Michael Gunter smashed a triple down the left field line. Kyle Waugh proceeded to bring him home cranking a double out to center field.
- Unfortunately that was all the scoring Rockford was able to do as the Spartans tallied on five more runs in the seventh to end the game with a final score of 16-5.
- Zack Jones did well in his limited time on the mound, as he stuck out 9 batters in just six innings.
- Michael Gunter lead the way at the plate going 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.
- Brett Down went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and an RBI.
- Kyle Waugh finished 2-for-5 with a double and 2 RBIs.
- Michael Gunter again lead the way at the plate going a perfect 4-for-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Gunter was just a home run shy of completing the cycle in game two.
- Corey Saracco finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Brett Down went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored.
The Rockford University baseball team gets right back to action when it hosts #1 Concordia Chicago on Monday, May 6 at Rivets Stadium. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 PM.