BELOIT, Wis. - It was a wild night of baseball on Wednesday between the Rockford University Regents (8-10) and the Beloit College Buccaneers (11-7). The two teams combined for 31 hits and 25 runs in game the Buccaneers won by a final score of 17-8. Although Rockford never led, the Regents were within striking distance for much of the evening. However ultimately it was the big inning that did the Regents in, as Beloit scored eleven of its seventeen runs in just two innings. The final dagger came in the seventh when after Rockford scored four runs in the top half of the frame to pull back within three, the Bucs answered with five runs in the bottom half to put the game out of reach.
After falling behind 2-0 heading into the second inning, the Regents methodically chipped away at the Bucs' lead with a single run in each of the next four innings. Rockford's first run of the day came in the second when junior Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Minn.) blasted a solo home run over the left field wall to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Unfortunately Beloit responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to extend its lead to 4-1 after two innings of play. The Regents again pulled back within two after scoring another run in the top of the third. Following a pair of quick outs to begin the inning, Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.) started the two-out rally with a walk. Seniors Bryce Hinkelman (Ottawa, Ill.) and Austin Smith (Peru, Ill.) followed with back-to-back singles with Smith driving in Down to make it a 4-2 game. Rockford continued to chip away at the lead in the top of the fourth with another single run. Seth Sanderson (Fulton, Ill.), Nathan Burris (Oglesby, Ill.) and Kraemer Brandt (Elk Grove, Ill.) strung together back-to-back-to-back singles with Brandt scoring Sanderson to make it a one-run game at 4-3. However, the Bucs once again answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning to push their lead back to two. The back-and-forth affair continued in the fifth when Rockford took advantage of two Buccaneer errors to score their fourth run in as many innings and make it a 5-4 game. Unfortunately things began to go south in the bottom of the fifth when Beloit scored six runs off five hits to take, at the time, its biggest lead of the day at 11-4.
The Regents still had a lot of fight left in them as they were able to make it just a three-run game thanks to a four-run seventh. Austin Smith and Chris Carlson (Schaumburg, Ill.) got the inning started with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with no one out. After a wild pitch scored Smith, Kyle Waugh drew a walk to put runners on first and second with still no one out. Up stepped John Mareks (Tucson, Ariz.), who promptly crushed a two-run double into left center to make it an 11-7 game. One batter later, Seth Sanderson drove in Mareks with his third single of the game as the Regents continued to pull closer at 11-8. However the Buccaneers settled down and retired the next three batters to get out of the inning. Beloit would then put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom half of the seventh and a solo run in the eight en route to a 17-8 victory.
Offensively the Regents had a great evening as they tallied 14 hits and had four players record multi-hit games. Seth Sanderson and Nathan Burris each went 3-for-5 with Sanderson also driving in a run and scoring a run. John Mareks was 1-for-2 with a double, 2 RBIs and a run scored. Kyle Waugh finished 1-for-2 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored. Austin Smith and Bryce Hinkelman both went 2-for-5 with Smith scoring two runs and driving in a run.
The RU baseball team returns to the diamond on Saturday, April 14 at home against Benedictine University. First pitch is set for noon at Rivets Stadium.