Baseball claims share of NAC championship!
May 5, 2008
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
Neither rain, nor bus rides, nor 33 innings of baseball in less than 24 hours could keep the Benedictine baseball team from claiming a share of the Northern Athletics Conference championship on Sunday. The Eagles (25-15, 17-5 NAC) finished the amazing journey by sweeping first-place Rockford College (12-11 and 13-1) on Saturday evening, before splitting a twinbill at Edgewood College (3-17 and 14-4) on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday's games at The Sports Complex were delayed 1 1/2 hours by the rain, with the team not getting off of the field until nearly 10:00 p.m. Then, the Eagles departed by bus to Madison, Wis., at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday for the doubleheader with Edgewood.
The results proved to be worth it, as Benedictine won its first conference championship since 2004. It was also the 16th league crown under longtime head coach John Ostrowski (36th season).
Saturday's first game against Rockford was not for the faint-hearted. Benedictine trailed in the game, 11-10 with two out in the ninth inning and things looking bleak.
With men on first and second, and the runners going on the pitch, Anthony Carioscia lofted a little fly ball to left-center field. Rockford's outfielders seemed confused about which would handle the would-be final out, with the ball instead falling to the turf and both runners scoring for the 12-11 final.
Dan Jedlowski was credited with the win in relief.
Kenny Burdi had a double, on his way to a 3-for-4 game. He also scored four times and drove in three runs.
Kevin Graham, Rick Porcaro and Nick Rice each collected two hits. Graham had the Eagles' only other extra-base hit, a triple.
In the second contest versus the Regents, the Eagles blasted RC from the get-go. Benedictine rolled up three runs in the first inning, while adding four in the fourth and three each in the fifth and sixth frames before the game was halted after seven due to the 10-run "mercy rule."
Freshman pitcher Jake Thompson went the distance from the mound, improving to 4-3 on the season. Thompson struck out six and walked just one, while one-hitting the Regents.
Graham had the hot bat again in the second game, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Graham had a double among his hits.
Burdi, Porcaro and Rice each contributed two more hits in the big win. Kyle Bergman added a double.
The after-effects of an emotionally-charged sweep over Rockford and the long bus ride showed in the first game at Edgewood, as Benedictine was never in the 17-3 rout. EC's six-run second inning all but sealed Benedictine's fate in game No. 1.
Game two was a much different story as BU had its hopes for a share of the NAC title - along with a chance to be the top-seed in the NAC tournament - on the line.
BU tallied three runs in the first inning, four in the second and three runs each in the third and fourth frames on its way to the league title. Benedictine amassed 16 hits in the game.
Bergman went 4-for-5 with four runs scored, while also driving home one run. Graham was 3-for-5 with a run and four RBI, while Kevin Ross and Porcaro had two hits apiece. Ross and Porcaro drove in three and two runs, respectively.
Junior hurler Kennedy Grear (5-2) picked up the win with six strong innings of work, and as the benefactor of BU's offensive outburst. Grear allowed five hits and three earned runs. He struck out eight and walked four before giving way to a pair of relievers to close out the win.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, email@example.com or visit ben.edu.