ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles East baseball team profited from Geneva’s numerous mistakes Friday, taking the series opener between the Upstate Eight Conference River rivals, 10-0, in five innings.
The Vikings started the game with leadoff hitter Jason Croci making it to second on a St. Charles East throwing error. After an infield single by Garrett Davis, there were two runners on and no outs, but Saints starting pitcher Austin Regelbrugge worked out of the jam, and rolled from there.
Regelbrugge pitched all five innings, giving up three hits and striking out four batters, three of them looking.
“I was just trying to get ahead [of hitters], fastball, curveball, trying to mix it up and keep them off balance,” Regelbrugge said. “I trust my defense that they’re going to make plays. They’re not going to make two mistakes in a row.”
The Saints (13-7, 9-5 UEC River) scored two runs in the bottom of the inning with Brannon Barry hitting into a fielder’s choice and Regelbrugge helping his own cause with an RBI single up the middle.
Geneva starter Mitchel Merges struggled to find the strike zone, which set in motion the Vikings’ collapse in the third inning.
The bottom of the third began with a single by East first baseman Ben Smith. Jake Asquini bunted and reached safely on a throwing error by the pitcher. The bases were then loaded after a walk to left fielder Erik Anderson and a run came in off another walk, making the score 3-0.
The Vikings brought in Ben Slattery and his first pitch was turned into a textbook squeeze play by Mike Settle, giving East a 4-0 with lead no outs. Saints leadoff hitter Reid Olson singled in a run and a throwing error brought in two more.
Barry added an RBI double to left, making the score 8-0. Smith came to bat for a second time in the inning and hit an RBI sacrifice fly to right. The nightmare inning finally ended for Geneva but the Saints held a 9-0 lead.
“It seemed like you name it, it went wrong,” Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. “We have to come out with a different demeanor then we came out today, and I think you will see that [in today’s doubleheader].”
Geneva (12-6, 8-5 UEC River) had four errors in the game, all leading to runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, Barry struck again with an RBI single to end the game. He went 2 for 4 with four RBIs and a double.
“Everyone had great, quality at-bats which is good, everyone saw a lot of pitches,” Barry said. “… Luckily we were all on our spots and were all hitting the ball hard.”
Geneva will host the Saints in today’s doubleheader. East coach Len Asquini realizes the importance of Friday’s series-opening win.
“[This win was] big, no question about it,” Asquini said. “ … We know tomorrow is another day, we know Geneva is going to show up and be a lot better and we’re going to have to be just as good if not better tomorrow.”
Friday’s game was a makeup of Thursday’s rainout. Game 1 of today’s doubleheader at Geneva starts at 9 a.m. as both schools have their proms this weekend.