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Baseball Falls In Double Header To Benedictine

Photo of Tyler Gutsfeld by Norman Cohen.
Photo of Tyler Gutsfeld by Norman Cohen.

by Eric Willuweit

Chicago, Ill - The Illinois Tech baseball team returned to Ed Glancy Field Saturday for a pair of games against conference rival Benedictine University on a sun-splashed afternoon, but the visiting Eagles clearly didn't read the room, as they spoiled the day by taking both games, 7-6 and 11-7. The Scarlet Hawks fell to 2-4 in NACC play, and 9-12 overall. The Eagles improved to 5-1 in conference play and 14-6 overall.

Game one was the heartbreaker for the Scarlet Hawks, as they held a 5-4 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning, only to have the Eagles score two runs in their half-inning to take a 6-5 lead. The Hawks responded with a run of their own in the bottom frame to send the game into extra-innings, but the Eagles prevailed in 11 innings, 7-6. Connor Blake had a strong outing, pitching seven inning, allowing four runs while scattering eight hits and striking out a career-high 11 batters. Michael Paxson supported the offense, going 3 for 5 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored. Tyler Gutsfeld went 4 for 6 with two RBI.

Game two went in a different direction, as the Eagles jumped out to a five-run lead before the Scarlet Hawks would plate their first run in the bottom of the fifth inning. A three-run sixth inning for the Eagles extended their lead to six runs, and despite scoring in the final four innings the Hawks would get no closer than four runs, eventually falling 11-7. Eagles starter Andrew Kurcz was wild but effective, limiting the Scarlet Hawks to just two runs in six innings, despite walking six batters. He struck out four and allowed just five hits. The Eagles running game also proved problematic for the Hawks, as they stole eight bases in the second game. Austin Richardson suffered the loss, falling to 4-1 on the season. Gutsfeld remained hot at the plate for the Scarlet Hawks, going 4 for 5 with a home run, a double, while driving in three runs and scoring twice. Brandon Bennitt was 3 for 5 with a home run and two RBI and a run scored.

Game One - Benedictine 7 - Illinois Tech 6

The Scarlet Hawks opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, with Mason Kim and Gutsfeld each driving in a run on RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. The Eagles responded with a solo run in the top of the fourth inning on a Peter Turelli sacrifice fly to cut the their deficit to 2-1. The Hawks got the run back in the bottom half of the inning, on an RBI groundout by David Cooper. The Eagles offense broke out in the top of the fifth inning, with a pair of RBI doubles from Logan Gregorio and Brennan Fisher and an RBI single by Andrew Tenison, giving the Eagles a 4-3 lead. The Scarlet Hawks were able to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth, when they took advantage of a two-out error by the Eagles with Paxson slugging a two-run home run to give the Hawks a 5-4 lead. It remained that way until the top of the ninth inning, when the Eagles plated a pair of runs to take a 6-5 lead. The Eagles took advantage of Scarlet Hawks fielding miscues to tie the score, and pinch hitter Tristan Kerr delivered an RBI single to give the Eagles the lead. The Hawks would regroup and send the game into extra inning with a run in the bottom half of the ninth. With two outs in the inning, David Cooper drew a walk, with Timmy Old pinch-running. After a Matthew Bove walk put runners on first and second, Tyler Gutsfeld belted an RBI double, scoring Old to send the game into extra-innings tied at 6-6. After a scoreless 10th inning, the Eagles reclaimed the lead in the top of the 11th on an RBI double by Tenison. Tenison, who pitched the final two innings of the game after moving over from third base, shut the Hawks down in order in the bottom of the 11th for his third win of the season.

Game Two - Benedictine 11 - Illinois Tech 7

With neither team able to score in the opening two innings of game two, Benedictine struck first in the top of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Bushnell. The Eagles would extend their lead to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning, with Ryan Doubek slugging a 2-run double and Logan Gregorio and RBI single to give Benedictine a 4-0. The Eagles would tack on another run in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI single by Steven Salvino. The Scarle Hawks finally got on the board in their bottom half of the fifth inning on and RBI double by Matthew Jackson, cutting the Hawks deficit to 5-1. The Eagles would respond with three runs in the top of the sixth, with Brennan Fisher belting a lead-off home run, Alex Cameron plating a run with an RBI single, and Doubek hitting a sacrifice fly to extend their lead to 8-1. Illinois Tech would get a run back in their half of the sixth, with Gutsfeld driving in Jonah Wilkes with an RBI double. After the Eagles were shut down in order in the top of the seventh inning, Bennitt trimmed the Hawks deficit to 8-3 with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning. The Eagles would score a pair of two-out runs in the top of the eigth inning, with an RBI single by Doubek and a Bushnell hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to plate the second run. The Scarlet Hawks would answer with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the eighth, with Gutsfeld belting a two-run home run and Samuel Sproule delivering a two-out RBI single to cut the Benedictine lead to 10-6. The Eagles took advantage of a Scarlet Hawks error in the top of the ninth to drive in a run on a two-out Cameron RBI single. The Hawks would draw within five runs in the bottom of the night with a bases loaded, two-out walk by Bennitt, but Tenison would come on in relief to retire Jackson and pick up the save in the nightcap.

Scarlet Hawks Standouts (Combined Double Header)

  • Gutsfeld went 8 for 11 with a home run, 2 doubles, 5 RBI, 2 runs scored and a 1.182 slugging percentage. He also had 9 putouts and an assist in the double header.
  • Paxson was 3 for 8 with a home run and a double, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.
  • Bennitt was 3 for 9 with a home run, 2 RBI and a run scored. Bennitt was also perfect in 8 chances in the field with 4 putouts and 4 assists.
  • Blake with a career-high 11 strikeouts, while limiting the Eagles to 4 runs over 7 innings, scattering 8 hits.
  • Brendan Dwyer struck out 2 batters in one inning in relief.
  • Alejandro Garcia struck out 4 batters in two inning of relief.


  • Eagles starting third baseman Tenison picked up the win in game one in relief and the save in relief in game two of the double header. He also went 3 for 9 with two RBI.

Up Next

In a quirk in scheduling, partially due to weather-related makeups, the Scarlet Hawks will play their third-consecutive Monday afternoon double header, when they travel to De Pere, Wis. on April 10th for a conference matchup with the St. Norbert College Green Knights, starting at 12:00 PM CT.