LISLE, Illinois – The MSOE baseball team rebounded from a late game-one loss to defeat Benedictine 11-5 in game two to earn a doubleheader sweep and secure the No. 3 seed for next week's NACC Tournament Sunday afternoon at the Lisle Sports Complex.
The Raiders (23-17, 13-7 NACC) dropped the opener after the Eagles (23-16, 12-8 NACC) struck for the go-ahead runs in the eighth innings. Both teams finished in a three-way tie for second place in the conference with Marian securing the No. 2 seed, followed by MSOE and then Aurora.
Junior Sam Crawford (3-5) picked up the decision in both games, rebounding from a tough relief appearance in game one to throw 6.1 strong innings in the game-two start. He allowed just one earned run over the first six innings before running into some traffic on the bases in the seventh.
The Red & White offense also picked itself up right away after the opening loss, scoring right away in the first inning. A lead-off error allowed senior Ryan Newman to reach third base and he came home on senior Jimmy Carrington's sacrifice fly.
After the Eagles tied the game with a single run in the second, the Raiders pulled ahead for good with a run in the fourth inning before breaking the game open with a six-run sixth inning. Senior Garrett Willems singled to lead off the fourth, moved up to second on a groundout, and scored on senior Owen Burnikel's single.
Then, in the sixth, freshman Julian Sonn led off with a single. Two batters later, he scored on a Burnikel double. Another two batters later, and with two outs, senior Max Kemp hit an RBI single. Freshman Justin Bickman singled and Newman hit an RBI single up the middle. A Carrington walk loaded the bases for Willems to clear them off with a three-run double to make it 8-1.
The home team rallied for a pair of runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to pull within four runs but MSOE tacked on three more insurance runs in the ninth inning. Carrington led off with a double and came in on a Sonn sacrifice fly. A walk, hit batter, and a wild pitch put runners on the corners. A balk brought in one run and freshman Nick Stricker doubled in another to effectively put the game out of reach.
BenU put up an unearned run in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Three players followed Crawford to the mound, with freshman Kyle Jablonski throwing 1.1 innings and sophomore Justin Celeski retiring the only batter he faced. Freshman Cole Raines closed out the game by throwing the ninth inning.
Bickman, Burnikel, and Willems had two hits each to pace the offense.
Senior Michael Boehmer turned in a strong start in the opener, scattering eight hits over 7.0 innings. He allowed two runs and struck out a pair.
Behind him, Sonn got MSOE on the board first with a home run in the second inning. Benedictine tied the game with a single run in the third inning and took the lead with another run in the fourth.
The Raiders pulled level at 2-2 with a two-out rally in the fifth inning. Newman was hit by a pitch with two outs and immediately scored on a Carrington double.
The teams remained tied until the eighth when the Eagles took the lead on a home run and tacked on an insurance run.
MSOE finished with just seven hits in the game, led by two from Carrington. The game snapped a streak of nine-straight games with double-digits in hits.
Carrington tied the school record for total bases in a career with 296 while Newman extended his hitting streak to 21-straight games and became the sole leader for career runs scored in program history with 122. Meanwhile, Bickman extended his hitting streak to 17 games and reaching base safely streak to 21-straight.
MSOE returns to action on day one of the NACC Championship, playing No. 6 Concordia Wisconsin Thursday at 10 a.m.