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Baseball Takes Two Of Four Games In Wisconsin Swing - Qualify For NACC Postseason Tournament

Photo of Matthew Jackson by Norman Cohen.
Photo of Matthew Jackson by Norman Cohen.

by Eric Willuweit

Milwaukee, Wis. - Although the weekend road trip to Wisconsin didn't start out as the Illinois Tech baseball team hoped, dropping a double header to Edgewood on Saturday, the Scarlet Hawks were able to rebound with a double header sweep of Wisconsin Lutheran Sunday in Milwaukee. The Scarlet Hawks improved to 21-19 overall and 14-10 in NACC play.

The Scarlet Hawks are also returning to the NACC Baseball Postseason Tournament, after a one-year absence. Illinois Tech secured the number five seed in the tournament, and will have an opportunity to avenge their Saturday double header loss to Edgewood, as the Hawks will face the number four seed Eagles at 1:00 PM on Thursday, May 11th.

"This past weekend was tough and we needed to do well to qualify for the NACC Tournament'' said Head Coach Ed Zeifert. "The guys came out with two very strong performances against Concordia Wisconsin (double header sweep on Friday, May 5th) and they carried that through the weekend. I could not be more proud of this team's ability to handle adversity, adjust and do what needed to be done from a team perspective" said Zeifert.

Zeifert was also looking forward to the rematch with Edgewood on Thursday in the NACC Tournament. 

"Looking ahead, we are excited to play a very good Edgewood team that is tough and creative on offense and can really play some defense.  Al Brisak and the Eagles are always ready to play and we must match that energy and intensity" said Zeifert.

5/6/23 - Edgewood 11 - Illinois Tech 10 (Game 1 - 11 innings)

With Illinois Tech trailing 9-6 heading into the top of the eighth inning, the Scarlet Hawks loaded the bases, and Matthew Jackson belted a grand slam to give the team a 10-9 lead. Unfortunately the lead was short-lived, as the Eagles loaded the bases with one out in their half of the eighth inning. An Eagles bunt to pitcher Alejandro Garcia resulted in the lead runner being thrown out at home for the second out. With the Hawks on the verge of escaping the inning, the Eagles got a two-out infield single to score the tying run. Neither team was able to score in the ninth and tenth innings. In the bottom half of the eleventh inning, after a leadoff double by Kyle Sagan, a bunt single by Connor Goodwin resulted in a throwing error, allowing Sagan to score from third base with the winning run. Garcia took the loss for the Scarlet Hawks (4-4), pitching three innings on one-run, four-hit ball. Jackson was 3 for 6 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Tyler Gutsfeld was 4 for 7 with one run and one RBI.

5/6/23 - Edgewood 17 - Illinois Tech 5 (Game 2 - 7 innings)

Illinois Tech scored three runs in the second inning and two runs in the third inning, and owned a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. But that would be as good as it would get for the Hawks, as Edgewood put up a ten-spot in the fourth inning, and tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning en route to a 17-5 seven inning shortened game. Ethan Henry (0-1) took the loss for Illinois Tech. Timmy Old went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Brandon Bennitt was 2 for 4 with a run scored.

5/7/23 - Illinois Tech 9 - Wisconsin Lutheran 8 (Game 1 - 11 innings)

After falling behind 6-0 to the Warriors after two innings, the Scarlet Hawks chipped away, with solo runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to cut their deficit to 6-3. The Scarlet Hawks continued to add on, with two runs in the seventh, one run in the eighth, and two more in the ninth to hold an 8-6 lead. But in the bottom of the ninth inning, a leadoff error by the Scarlet Hawks was followed by a game-tying two-run home run by Wisconsin Lutheran to tie the game at 8-8, sending the game into extra innings. Neither team would score in the tenth inning, but in the top of the eleventh, a Michael Paxson single and stolen base, and a Matthew Bove double gave the Hawks a 9-8 lead that would hold. Zac Lis (2-1) pitched three innings of two-run (1 earned), two-hit ball for the win. Jack Niekrasz struck out two batters in a scoreless eleventh inning for his first career save.

5/7/23 - Illinois Tech 17 - Wisconsin Lutheran 11 (Game 2)

The Scarlet Hawks once again found themselves behind the Warriors, trailing 9-1 after three innings. But Illinois Tech exploded for ten runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead, and they would never trail for the rest of the way. Jonah Wilkes and Jackson both had two-run singles in the big inning, and Jackson Nutter added a two-run double. The Hawks would tack on solo runs in the fifth and seventh innings, and four more in the ninth, to claim the victory. Brendan Dwyer (1-0) earned the win with 4.1 innings pitched, allowing 1 earned run and scattering four hits. Mason Kim earned the save, closing out the final three innings, allowing only one run, one hit while striking out three batters. Jackson was 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Samuel Sproule went 2 for 4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI. Bove went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Wilkes was 2 for 2 with 2 RBI and 1 RBI.

Up Next

The Scarlet Hawks head to Mequon, Wisconsin on Thursday, May 11th, where they will face Edgewood in their opener of the 2023 NACC Baseball Tournament, with the game time at 1:00 PM.