ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The Rockford University baseball team (4-7) returned to the diamond for the first time in over a week on Sunday when the Regents hit the road to face the Augustana College Vikings (10-4-1). Rockford's 8-1 win in the opener was highlighted by both outstanding pitching and hitting. Zack Jones (Rockford, Ill.) picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season, while Joseph Kmiec (Bolingbrook, Ill.) earned his second save. Offensively, Rockford used a pair of three-run innings, which included two-run singles from Jacob Rillamas (Yuma, Ariz.) and Corey Saracco (Montgomery, Ill.), to help lift the team to victory. In game two, the Regents again got excellent pitching performances from both Christian Pearcy (Tucson, Ariz.) and Joseph Valdez (Tucson, Ariz.). Unfortunately, the RU offense tallied just two hits over the final 4.1 innings as the Vikings escaped with a 4-3 win in extra innings.
Rockford University 8 Augustana College 1
- Rockford struck first in the second inning with one run off two hits. With one out and a runner on second, Christian Garcia (Maricopa, Ariz.) recorded his first hit of the day to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Iszak Mestas (Burbank, Ill.) singled to drive in the first run of the game and give the Regents a 1-0 lead.
- The Vikings answered right back with a single run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Augustana needed just one hit to score its run and tie the game at 1-1.
- The score remained tied until the top of the fifth when Rockford broke the game wide open with three runs. The Regents loaded the bases with two outs off a pair of walks and a hit batsman. Michael Gunter (Maricopa, Ariz.) then drove in the first run of the inning with an RBI infield single, to put his team back in front 2-1. One batter later, Corey Saracco roped a two-run single into left field to extend the Regents' lead to 4-1.
- Four runs was more than enough support for RU starting pitcher Zack Jones. After surrendering a run in the second, Jones allowed just one hit and did not surrender a run over the next four innings.
- The Regents would add another insurance run in the sixth. Rockford took advantage of a pair of Viking errors, a Mestas infield single and a wild pitch to score its run and extend the lead to 5-1.
- Rockford then made it an 8-1 game with a three-run eighth inning. Christian Garcia, Troy Tucci (Wood Dale, Ill.) and Hunter Fiorito (Batavia, Ill.) each singled to load the bases with one out. Jacob Rillamas followed with a two-run single of his own to make it a 7-1 Rockford advantage. One batter later, Brett Down (Princeville, Ill.) drove in Rockford's final run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center.
- Junior pitcher Joseph Kmiec threw the final three innings to pick up his second save of the season.
Augustana College 4 Rockford University 3 (11 Innings)
- It was the Vikings who struck first in game two with a single run in the bottom of the first. The Vikings used a pair of hits including an RBI double to grab a quick 1-0 lead.
- The score remained 1-0 until the top of the third when the Regents scored a pair of runs to take the lead. Iszak Mestas and Brett Down each singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. One batter later, Michael Gunter drove in Rockford's first run of the game with an RBI single to tie it at 1-1. Corey Saracco followed with an RBI single of his own to put Rockford out in front 2-1.
- The Regents would then make it a 3-1 lead with a single run in the top of the sixth inning. Rockford loaded the bases with one out after singles from Corey Saracco and Christian Garcia and a Bryson Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) walk. One batter later, Cristian Bermeo (Chicago, Ill.) drove in Saracco with a sacrifice fly to center field.
- Unfortunately, Rockford's lead did not last long as the Vikings tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Augustana used a pair of hits and a pair of walks to score its two runs and knot the game at 3-3.
- The game remained tied until the 11th inning when both teams had chances to score a run.
- Bryson Wallace singled to lead off the Regent half of the eleventh. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to second, Kyle Waugh (Waseca, Minn.) recorded an infield single to put runners on the corners with just one out. Unfortunately, the Vikings were able to strike out the final two batters of the inning and keep the game tied heading into the bottom half of the frame.
- Augustana then led off the bottom of the eleventh with back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second with no one out. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, the Vikings promptly singled in a run for the 4-3 win.
- Zack Jones went six innings to pick up the win and move to 2-1 on the season. Jones allowed just one run off three hits and struck out seven.
- Joseph Kmiec pitched the final three innings to earn his second save of the season. Kmiec allowed no runs on two hits while striking out three and walking none.
- Iszak Mestas went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
- Brett Down also went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
- Corey Saracco and Jacob Rillamas each drove in a pair of runs.
- Christian Garcia was 2-for-5 with a run scored.
- Bryson Wallace went 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.
- Corey Saracco was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Michael Gunter and Cristian Bermeo each drove in a run.
- Christian Pearcy (Tucson, Ariz.) went seven strong innings on the mound. Pearcy allowed three runs off seven hits and struck out five.
- Joseph Valdez (Tucson, Ariz.) threw the final 3.1 innings, allowing a run off five hits while striking out four.
The RU baseball team returns to the diamond on Monday, March 25 at Robert Morris Peoria. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 PM.