Regents Rally in Game 1, Game 2 Halted in Extras

Brett Down
Brett Down

LOVES PARK, Ill. - The Rockford University baseball team (7-8, 3-0 NACC) took to the field Monday afternoon to face off against the Concordia University of Wisconsin Falcons (11-8, 1-2 NACC). The Regents were riding a six-game win streak into Monday and it looked as though it may be snapped as Rockford was staring at a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the eighth. RU kept fighting and came back to win game one 5-4 on a walk-off single. In game two the Regents again were trailing as they were down 4-0 heading into the bottom of third. Thanks to a big third inning from Rockford the two team were tied at 4-4. Neither team could seem to pull away after that as the game required extra innings. However, the game was halted due to an electrical malfunction that caused the lights in center field to not turn on. 

In game one it was CUW that struck first as the Falcons came out to an early 2-0 lead as they scored two runs in top of the second.

It was not until the bottom of the fourth that the Regents got some life as they got a run back thanks to a homerun. Bryce Hinkelman (Ottawa, Ill.) hit his third homerun of the season as he skied the ball over the left field wall. 

However, it did not take long for CUW to find an answer as it got one back right away in the top of the fifth. The Falcons did not stop there as they tallied another run in the top of the sixth to take a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the frame. 

Dalton Morris (Somonauk, Ill.) entered the game in the top of the seventh and did well during his time on the mound. Morris walked the first batter before getting the second batter to ground out to Austin Smith (Peru, Ill.) for a double play with Michael Tosado (Chicago, Ill.) at first. Morris followed up by striking the third batter out looking. Morris kept the momentum going in top of the eighth as he retired the first batter swinging and got the next two to ground out. 

Rockford headed into the bottom of the eighth needing some runs if it was going to come back and continue its win streak. The Regents crawled back into the game with a two-run homerun courtesy of Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.). With two outs, Kraemer Brandt (Elk Grove, Ill.) did well drawing a walk to set up Down. Down who has been hot of late, kept it going as he lasered a two-run shot into deep left field. That was as far as the Rockford run went in the eighth, making the score 4-3. 

The freshman, Christian Dahlstrom (Clermont, Fla.) came into the game in the top of the ninth to try and close it out for the Regents in hopes Rockford would get a big inning out of its offense. With no outs and runners on the corners the catcher, Bryce Hinkelman and third baseman, Brett Down caught the Falcon runner on third in a pickoff situation and managed to get him out. Dahlstrom proceeded to walk the next batter before getting the following batter to go down looking and then grounding out the third. 

Rockford went into the bottom of ninth staring at a one-run deficit but having some momentum on its side. Austin Smith and Chris Carlson (Schaumburg, Ill.) got things going at the plate as they both drew walks to start the inning for the Regents. Rockford decided to make some changes as the Regents sent in Seth Sanderson (Fulton, Ill.) to pinch run for Carlson and John Mareks (Tucson, Ariz.) to pinch hit for Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Minn.). With Mareks at the plate, a wild pitch advanced Smith and Sanderson giving Rockford runners on second and third with no outs. One batter later, Michael Tosado (Chicago, Ill.) drew a walk to load the bases for the Regents with one out. One batter later, it was Jacob Rillamas (Yuma, Ariz.) who stepped to the plate looking to be the hero. With two outs and bases loaded Rillamas hit a walk-off single through the left side allowing Smith and Sanderson to race home and win the game with a final score of 5-4.

On the defensive side for Rockford it was Dalton Morris and Christian Dahlstrom performing well. Dalton Morris entered the game to pitch two innings, striking out two and allowing no runs. Dahlstrom earned the win for the Regents as he came in to pitch the final three outs of the game while striking out one.

On offense the Regents were led by the trio of Brett Down, Bryce Hinkelman and Jacob Rillamas. Down and Hinkelman each went 1-for-3 at the plate with each of them recording a homerun. Jacob Rillamas came through in the clutch as his only hit of the game was his most important as he hit a walk-off single to keep the Regents winning streak alive.  

In game two Rockford saw itself in another hole as CUW scored one run in the first and three runs in the second to take an early 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second. 

Come the third inning Rockford got all of those runs back as it scored four runs in the bottom of the frame to tie the game up 4-4. Cristian Bermeo (Chicago, Ill.) drew a walk for Rockford and proceeded to advance on a passed ball with Nathan Burris (Oglesby, Ill.) at the plate. Burris followed suit by drawing a walk. With Kraemer Brandt at the plate, another passed ball allowed Bermeo and Burris to advance to second and third for Rockford with no outs. Brandt did well as he knocked a single into right center that scored Bermeo and advanced Burris to third. With Brett Down at the plate, Brandt received the steal sign and took second with no outs still for the Regents. Down kept the ball rolling as he crushed a double into left field, sending Burris and Brandt home. Bryce Hinkelman followed as he doubled down the left field line and scored Down on the play to tie the game at 4-4. 

The game remained scoreless and proceeded to need extra innings to determine a winner. In the top of the tenth with the Falcons having the bases loaded with one out, an electrical malfunction caused the outfield lights to remain off. Due to the issue the game is to be resumed at later date that has not yet been determined. 

The Rockford University baseball team returns to action on Wednesday, April 8 as RU travels to take on Dubuque. Firs pitch is set for noon.