Bats Come Alive as Baseball Sweeps Dominican in NACC Opener

Bats Come Alive as Baseball Sweeps Dominican in NACC Opener

FRANKLIN, Wisconsin – Senior Garrett Willems drove in six runs and hit a walk-off grand slam in game one and the MSOE baseball team scored 11 runs en route to a run-rule victory in game two to a doubleheader sweep of Dominican Monday afternoon at The Rock Complex.

The Raiders (10-9, 2-0 NACC) scored six times over the last two innings in game one to overcome a 5-2 deficit and win 8-5. Then, they scored 11 unanswered runs against the Stars (9-7, 0-4 NACC) on the way to an 11-1 win in seven innings.

Willems went 3-for-5 with six RBIs, powering the late-inning rally by driving in all six runs.

Trailing 5-2 in the eighth inning, MSOE loaded the bases on a single, hit batter, and walk with no outs. Willems then came through with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Dominican escaped the frame with no more damage done but the Raiders went back to work in the ninth inning.

Freshman Justin Bickman started the rally with a one-out, pinch-hit walk. Sophomore Joe Gilpin then singled and, two batters later, senior Jimmy Carrington then walked to load the bases with two outs. Willems then stepped to the plate, once again, and hammered the first pitch he saw for a walk-off home run on the first day of league play for the second-straight season.

Willems hit a lead-off home run in the ninth inning April 1 of last season to score a 10-9 victory.

Junior Sam Crawford (2-1) picked up the win on the mound with 2.2 innings of relief. He scattered three hits and walk, striking out one and allowing just one run in the game. Senior Michael Boehmer got the start and struck out seven over 6.1 innings of work.

Despite the late deficit, MSOE scored first on a Carrington home run in the first inning. Dominican answered back with a run in the second inning and took a 2-1 lead with another run in the fourth. The Raiders quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame with an RBI double from junior Nick Gross.

The Stars pulled ahead with two runs in the seventh and, seemingly, an insurance run in the eighth inning for a three-run cushion.

The Red & White bats picked up right where they left off in game one, knocking out 11 runs on 11 hits in the nightcap.

DU opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the second inning before the Raiders responded quickly and often, netting five runs in the bottom of the frame in the first of four-straight at-bats with a run.

MSOE quickly loaded the bases with no outs in the second and Gilpin forced in the tying run when he was hit by a pitch. Senior Ryan Newman and Carrington followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies before Willems walked. Freshman Julian Sonn then stroked a two-run double for a 5-1 lead.

Newman had another sacrifice fly in the third inning before the Raiders put up another crooked number with four runs in the fourth. Six-straight hitters reached with the bases loaded in the frame. Senior Owen Burnikel and Gilpin had RBI singles while Carrington walked with the bases loaded and Willems was hit by a pitch as the next hitter to keep the rally going.

An RBI fielder's choice by Gilpin plated the team's 11th run in the fifth inning and the game came to its premature end two innings later.

Lost in the offensive barrage was some stellar pitching by a pair of freshmen. Brad Demkovich threw 6.1 innings, allowing just two hits, a walk, and a single run while striking out four to earn the win. Caleb Willert entered with the bases loaded and just one out in the top of the seventh inning and struck out both batters he faced to preserve the 10-run lead.

Burnikel went 3-for-3 and Gilpin drove in three game in the game-two victory. Carrington and Sonn had two hits and two RBIs each.

The Raiders return to action Wednesday with a single game at Division I Milwaukee. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Henry Aaron Field.

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