Eagles’ baseball struggles to find rhythm as season begins
The IVCC men’s baseball team lost seven straight games to start the year before picking up wins on April 2.
The Eagles lost the first game of the year to Joliet Junior College 12-1. Casey Huebbe provided the only IVCC run on a sacrifice fly. Michael Sexton took the loss, giving up six runs over three innings.
Triton College defeated IVCC in both games of a doubleheader on March 28 14-0; 7-0. Levi Ericson gave up seven runs over 1 2/3 innings. The Eagles couldn’t get their bats going against Joe Alley, who pitched a complete game shutout, gave up four hits, and struck out 10 IVCC batters.
The story didn’t change much as IVCC travelled to South Suburban College and lost to the Bulldogs 10-1. Matt Dresbach went 2-3 with a run scored and a walk. The pitching staff for IVCC walked nine batters in the game. Steve Letz drove in four runs for South Suburban, going 4-4 with a home run in the game.
Conference play opened up as Highland Community College travelled to Oglesby for a doubleheader on March 30. In the first game, IVCC lost 7-4.
Austin Duffell and Arturo Espinoza drove in runs for IVCC. Brandon Urbance took the loss for the Eagles, giving up five runs, four earned, on six walks in 4 2/3 innings.
The second game of the doubleheader was a bit closer, as IVCC lost 3-2. Michael Sexton pitched well for the Eagles, scattering seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Huebbe had an excellent game at the plate, going 2-4 with a double, a triple, and an RBI. Czenvic Rojer shut the door on IVCC’s last rally, striking out the final batter of the game to pick up the win. Garrett Gruenewald took the loss for IVCC, giving up a run on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Highland came back for more on April 2 for another doubleheader and the story was much different this time around.
In the first game, IVCC defeated the Cougars 16-1. Ericson was great on the mound, striking out five batters over five innings while only giving up one run. Nick Passini drove in three runs out of the leadoff spot while Duffell, Scott Coutts, and Evan Frantini each drove in two.
In the second game, IVCC defeated Highland 6-5. Michael Murray picked up the save in a scoreless inning. Mark Hernandez drove in two, Passini, Huebbe, Ericson, and Garrett Moon each had an RBI for the Eagles.
Huebbe drove in a run on a solo home-run. Carlos Pineda took the loss on the mound for Highland, giving up six runs, four earned, over six innings.
Kankakee Community College defeated IVCC 4-2 on April 3. Rodrigo Almeraz drove in two runs for the Eagles. IVCC struck out nine times in the game. Gruenewald took the loss, giving up two runs in one inning of work.
IVCC hit the road and travelled to Chicago Heights to play Prairie State College and lost 16-6; 9-7. In the second game, Huebbe went 3-5 with two RBI. Almeraz went 3-4 with three runs scored. Wes Hall and Scott Coutts each had two hits for the Eagles.
The Eagles returned home to split a doubleheader with Sauk Valley. IVCC lost the first game 11-6 but recovered to win the second 10-4. Hernandez went 3-3 in the win with two RBI.
Murray was lights out in relief, striking out five Skyhawks over three innings. Passini and Almeraz drove in two runs apiece.
Stats were unavailable for the doubleheader against Moraine Valley Community College on April 7, but IVCC lost both games 10-0; 13-3.
The Eagles will start a road trip April 13 to Black Hawk College, April 15 at Waubonsee, and return home to play Black Hawk again on April 16.