BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — In the bottom of the ninth, one out and the
bases loaded, sophomore Jordan Hayes (St.
Charles, Ill.) singled to bring home the winning run in game one against
Robert Morris University (Ill.) on Saturday, March 22. The Olivet Nazarene University baseball team
hosted the Eagles in their first CCAC action of the season. ONU went on to beat
Robert Morris 3-2 in game two to start the conference season 2-0. Prior to
Saturday’s wins, the Tigers were 0-8 in one-run games this season.
In game one, senior Steven
Beckham (Mt. Vernon, Ill.) (1-4) started in his seventh game of the season.
He threw 6 2/3 innings allowing six runs — four earned — off nine hits, walking
three. Freshman Dave Cericola (Villa
Park, Ill.) (1-4) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs off one
hit, but gained his first career win in relief.
Mike Topp started for the Eagles (7-7) and went five innings, allowing six runs off 10 hits, striking out six. Josh McQuery pitched two
innings of relief, allowing only one hit. Josh Howard allowed two runs off two
walks in 1/3 inning of work. Kyle Bledsoe (2-1) recorded the loss in the ninth
inning, allowing one run off three hits and four walks.
Following a rough top of the first inning, Beckham settled
down over the next five innings, allowing only three hits. Meanwhile, the Tigers
took control over the first three innings, scoring six runs of their own,
including a two-run single in the second by Josh Altmann (Homer Glen, Ill.). In the seventh, the Eagles tied it
at 6-6, and followed it up with two more in the top of the eighth. However, the
Tigers' (8-13) first baseman Bryan
Klendworth (Crystal Lake, Ill.) scored two on a single to tie the game. After three straight outs, Hayes took
advantage of the bases loaded and game-winning run, Madison Foster (Indianapolis, Ind.) game across the plate.
For the Tigers, Foster went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and four
runs. Altmann had three hits and two RBIs. Hayes had three hits and
the walk-off RBI. Klendworth had one hit and three RBIs.
Andrew Sebastian led the way for the Eagles at the plate, going
3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run. Tony Urbaniak went 2-for-2 with one run and
RBI. Tim Delany scored three of the Eagles eight runs, while four others had
one hit, two of which had an RBI.
Since the first game went extra innings, game two was only
seven innings. Senior Jonathan Fightmaster (Bourbonnais, Ill.) (5-2)
pitched a complete game, allowing only two runs — one earned — off six hits,
while striking out five.
For Robert Morris, Brendan Delaney (1-2) went the distance, allowing three runs — two earned — off four hits, walking five and striking out
Unlike in game one, the Tigers got things started in game two
with the first run in the third inning. Caleb
Gulledge (Spring Arbor, Mich.) stole home while J.P. Batts (Spring Lake, Mich.) stole second. The following inning, Robert Morris took the 2-1 lead with Sebastian and Koehler singles. In the
bottom of the inning, Aaron King’s
(Pekin, Ill.) single scored Jordan Hayes to tie the game, following a
hit-by-pitch to start the inning. Subsequently, the next inning would prove to
be the deciding inning as Fightmaster got three outs and Klendworth’s sacrifice
fly scored Batts to take the decisive 3-2 run.
For the Tigers, Aaron King went 2-for-3 with one RBI, and
Bryan Klendworth went 1-for-2 with a RBI.
For the Eagles, Jory Koehler went 2-for-3 with one RBI and Sebastian
had one hit, RBI, and run apiece. Austin Zakrocremski went 1-for-3 with one
ONU will be back on the field Friday, March 28, at Watson
Field against CCAC opponent Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) at 3:30 p.m.