Rain doesn't slow baseball's bats
CHICAGO – On a rainy Saturday in Chicago, the Northern Colorado baseball team took care of business, winning its 14th straight in Great West Conference action, 14-2 at Chicago State. The game was originally supposed to be the first of a doubleheader, but due to the storms, the second game has been postponed until Sunday.
The Bears (22-27, 18-4 GWC) scored 14 runs on 14 hits, while allowing the Cougars just two runs on three hits. Northern Colorado has now won 10 consecutive games on the season, the longest streak of the year.
Senior Marcus Valenzuela and junior Adam Hilker paced the team offensively, with three hits each. Valenzuela went 3-for-4 with four runs scored, while Hilker was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Sophomore catcher Harrison Lambert also had three RBI with two scoring on sacrifice flies.
Senior T.J. Berge scored two runs in the game, moving him into the top five in Northern Colorado history with 158. He also hit his 16th double of the season, giving him 50 for his career, bringing him within seven of the school record of 57 by Kevin Sandberg (2006-09).
Junior Jarod Berggren continued his hitting streak, going 2-for-5 in the game to stretch his streak to a team-season best 16 games.
Freshman Chris Hammer evened his season record at 4-4, giving up just two runs on two hits in 5.0 innings. He walked four and struck out three and threw 77 pitches. Senior Josh Boyer allowed just one hit over the final two innings, striking out one.
Berge walked with two outs in the top of the first. Berggren hit a ball to the short stop, who mishandled it. Berge went to third when the ball got by Michael Carpen and Berggren tested the defense, advancing to second. Carpen attempted to flip to the second baseman, but missed, allowed Berge to score. Junior Ben Packard then doubled to the fence in right-center to score Berggren and give the Bears the early 2-0 lead.
CSU tied the score in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run off the bat of Carpen.
Valenzuela singled through the right side and stole second to start the second inning. He advanced to third on a groundout by junior Tony Crudo and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lambert.
Valenzuela doubled and scored after back-to-back singles by Crudo and Lambert. Hilker singled through the left side to score Crudo and Berge doubled down the right field line for one run. Berggren singled to center to plate two more and open up an 8-2 lead.
In the fifth, Valenzuela had his third hit of the game, Crudo walked and Hilker doubled to left. Berggren singled with one out in the sixth, Packard reached on an error and Coy was plunked to load the bases. Crudo hit a ground rule double down the right field line to score two and Lambert hit a sacrifice fly to right. Hilker followed with a single through the left side to score Crudo for the 14-2 advantage.
Boyer allowed just one hit in the final two frames to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard and give the team the 14-2 win.
The Bears now hope the rain will stop in Chicago, allowing a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 9:00 am.