FRANKLIN, Wisconsin – Junior Jimmy Carrington hit a home run in both games and the MSOE baseball team had a grand slam in each game, as well, as it swept Rockford 12-11 and 17-1 Saturday afternoon at The Rock Complex to clinch its second-straight bid to the NACC Tournament.
The Raiders (19-19, 10-10 NACC) jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the opener before having to hold off the Regents (17-22, 8-12 NACC) late for the victory. They then scored in each of the first six innings to rout the visitors in the second game in just seven innings.
MSOE clinched the No. 6 seed in the tournament and will start its post-season Thursday at 10 a.m. against No. 3 Aurora in the opening game of the 2017 NACC Championship at Concordia Wisconsin in Mequon.
In the first game, the Raiders had led 8-2 but found themselves trailing 9-8 before quickly tying the score. They then struck for three runs in the eighth inning to take the lead for good. Junior Garrett Willems led off with a double before a hit batter and single by freshman D.J. Ellifson loaded the bases. Sophomore Andres Oselio forced in a run with walk and junior Ryan Newman followed with a two-run double to make it 12-11.
MSOE would need all of those runs as Rockford struck for a pair of runs in the ninth inning before an athletic 6-4 putout on a fielder's choice ended the game.
The Regents had scored first with an unearned run in the first inning but the Raiders answered right back with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. Carrington hit a two-run home run in the frame and Willems and Oselio each drove in runs.
A solo home run pulled a run back for the Regents in the second inning before junior Owen Burnikel seemingly broke open the game with a grand slam in the fourth inning to make it 8-2.
Rockford responded with five runs in its next at-bat and took the lead at after a two-run sixth inning. The deficit was short-lived for the Red & White as sophomore Nick Gross led off the bottom half of the sixth with a double and, after a wild pitch, scored on a Carrington ground out to tie the score.
D.J. Ellifson (3-0) earned the win with 2.2 innings of late relief on the mount. Rankila then retired three of the four batters he faced to close out the game for his first save of the season.
Newman finished with three hits in the first game, as Gross scored three times and three other players scored two times each.
MSOE put its foot on the gas in game two and never let up, scoring twice in the first inning on a bases-loaded hit batter, followed by a run-scoring ground out. A double play plated another run in the second and Ellifson highlighted a five-run third inning with a three-run triple to the corner in right field. That made it 8-0 before RU manufactured a run in the fourth inning.
The Red & White then went back to work with a three-run home run by Willems in the fourth inning, a two-run shot by Carrington in the fifth inning, and a Newman grand slam in the sixth inning for a 17-1 score.
Junior Michael Boehmer (5-1) went the distance for his fifth win of the season. He struck out six, walking one, and scattering six hits.
Willems drove in four runs in the game and scored three times while Gross had three hits and three runs scored. Oselio also finished with three hits in game two.
The run-rule victory was the team's sixth in league play among 10 total league wins.