Baseball wins big vs. Big Blue with ninth inning rally

admin

By: Will Heidenreich, Sport’s Editor

On Wednesday, March 28, Illinois Wesleyan baseball faced-off against Millikin University in Decatur, IL for their first conference game of the season, clinching a 11-7 victory. The Titans struggled early on defensively, allowing six runs in the first three innings and creating a 6-0 deficit

The team did not not score their first run until the top of the sixth inning, where junior John Bosco scored on a failed pick-off attempt, cutting the deficit to five. Following the error, senior Mark Plecki singled to right field, driving-in sophomore Nick Figus making the score 6-2. “Our pitching can always improve,” said junior pitcher Nick Brune. “We have a lot of young talent but have yet to reach our potential.”

Despite being down by four going into the eighth inning, the Titans continued to chip-away, scoring two runs.
The first of these was brought in by Figus, who drove freshman Brandon Skopick in on a double to middle-field. That advanced Bosco to third, where he scored on a Gino Cavalieri sacrifice fly the next play. Following the two-run rally, the Titans would surrendered a solo home-run in the bottom of the 8th, making the score 4-7 going into the 9th.

In the 9th, the Titans would score a whopping seven runs. Skopic started the rally with an RBI ground ball to third, advancing senior Jake Stewart to second and freshman Eric Kozlowski to third, pulling the Titans within 2. Following Skopic’s hit, Kozlowski would score by stealing home on a wild pitch. Stewart advanced to third, as well.
Bosco, the next batter, was hit by a pitch, priming the bases for Figus, who drove Stewart in on an RBI single, tied the game at seven and advanced Bosco to second.

Senior Gino Cavalieri, reaching second on an overthrow after grounding into a fielders choice, provided the perfect opportunity for Bosco to round third, touching home in the amist Big Blue’s confusion and giving the Titans an 8-7 lead, their first of the game. “This year, our offense is elite, and we know we can score in any inning” said senior Ian McGinnis.

“Even when we don’t play well for 9 innings, we find ways to pick each other up and win games,” Brune said.

After Cavalieri’s at-bat, Plecki reached first on a walk. With runners on first and second, junior Jacob Houghton stepped to the plate, belting a three-run homerun, which gave the Titans a comfortable five-run lead going into the bottom of the inning.

The Titans held the Big Blue scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, securing their tenth victory of the season (1-0 in conference play).This victory also marks Head Coach, Dennis Martel’s 793rd win in his 31st season as head coach.
“This win got our team fired up,” said Bosco. “It’s a great way to start conference play”