MEQUON, Wisconsin – The MSOE baseball team attempted to rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth inning but came up short in suffering a 7-5 defeat at the hands of Aurora in a showdown of the last unbeaten teams in the 2018 NACC Championship Saturday afternoon at Kapco Park.
The No. 3 Raiders (25-18) pushed a pair of runs across with two outs in their last at-bats but left the tying run stranded on base against the Spartans (29-12). MSOE now advances to the loser's bracket semifinals Sunday at 8 a.m. against the last remaining one-loss team after the final three games are played Saturday. That will put the Red & White one win away from a return matchup against Aurora in the championship game afterwards.
Aurora opened the scoring in the game with an unearned run in the second inning before striking for four more scores in the third inning to open a 5-0 lead.
The Raiders bounced back with three runs in the bottom half of third to pull back three runs. Senior Max Kemp started everything after a 10-pitch walk, coming back from down 0-2 in the count. Freshman Justin Bickman and senior Ryan Newman followed with singles to load the bases.
MSOE bounced back for consecutive scoreless frames on defense but was not able to pull any closer before the Spartans tacked on two runs in the sixth for a four-run advantage.
In the ninth inning, freshman Nick Stricker drew a one-out walk to start a last-gasp rally. Two batters later, Bickman kept it going with a single and Newman drove in a run on an infield single. Senior Jimmy Carrington then drove in another run to make it 7-5. Unfortunately, the rally came to an end with a ground out to the shortstop with the tying run on first base.
Newman had three hits in the game to reach 200 for his career, just the second player in program history to the milestone, and extended his hitting streak to 24-straight games. Bickman collected two hits of his own and has now reached base safely in 24-straight appearances.