Winning Streak Ends At Seven Following Loss to Aurora (Ill.)

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Nighthawks started day two in Arizona with their seventh straight win to open the season; the best start in program history. In the night cap, however, a big inning for Aurora (Ill.) late in the game ended the Nighthawks winning streak, while continuing the Spartans hot start.

Game One: Newbury 9 - North Central (Minn.) 5

With Nighthawks junior Matthew Sobray (Santa Clarita, Calif.) standing on third with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the North Central (Minn.) Rams catcher overthrew the pitcher, leading to an aware Sobray to take home and beat the throw giving the Nighthawks a 4-3 lead, while a five-run eighth inning for the Nighthawks led to their 9-5 win on Monday evening.

Sobray singled to start the sixth and stole second with sophomore David Center (Medford, Mass.) at the plate. Center reached on an error by the second baseman, putting runners on the corners with no outs.

The inning was in danger when the Rams turned a double play, with senior Brian Rhone (North Haven, Conn.) lining out to second and Center being thrown out at first. 

Junior Mitchell Walsh (Westport, Mass.) was at-bat when the error occured that scored Sobray. Walsh reached via a walk and was thrown out trying to steal second.

Sobray finished a home run short of the cycle, 3-for-4 with a triple in the second and a double in the eighth. Center finished 1-for-4 with a triple that scored Sobray in the eighth; the start of the big inning of insurance runs. Freshman Justin Banks (Corona, Calif.) finished 2-for-5 with a double. Freshman Dante Serino (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) finsihed 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Rams junior Brandon Scott (Chicago, Ill.) finished 2-for-3 with a double that tied the game at three in the fifth. Sophomore Cory Kukkola (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) finished 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and an RBI; he also scored three times.

The eighth inning turned out to be more meaningful as the Rams looked for a ninth inning comeback.

In the Nighthawks eighth, Center tripled with one out to to score Sobray. Rhone bunted for a single which, in turn, scored Center for the game-winning RBI. Walsh tripled with one out in the inning, scoring Rhone from first and Walsh was batted in on an RBI single by Serino. Serino advanced on a groundout and scored with two outs on a single by Banks, completing a five-run eighth inning.

In the ninth, the Rams plated two and had runners on second and third with one out, trailing 9-5. A fly out to center and a groundout to second would end the game, giving the Nighthawks their seventh straight win.

Junior Jim McGrorry (Oakhurst, N.J.) pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out eight. McGrorry imporves to 2-0 with the victory.

Rams sophomore Jonathon Kutzke (Coon Rapids, Minn.) takes the loss (0-1) giving up six runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. Kutzke struck out six.


Game Two: Aurora (Ill.) 12 - Newbury 1

Leading 2-1 headed to the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a two-out, RBI double in the sixth by Spartans senior Mike Chevren (Oswego, Ill.), the Aurora (Ill.) Spartans left no doubt, exploding for a 10-run eighth inning in the Spartans 12-1 victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Monday night at the Kino Sports Complex.

The loss is the first of the season for the Nighthawks, who came into tonight's action with seven straight wins to start the season. The Spartans continue their winning streak to start their year, the Spartans streak now sits at five.

Chevren finished the night 3-for-3, including the game-leading RBI double, one of his three RBIs on the night. Lipscomb batted 2-for-3, including a solo home run that got the scoring started in the second inning. Lipscomb scored four times on the night. Sophomore Jeffery Mayes (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) finished 3-for-5 with a double and a triple.

For the Nighthawks, Sobray finished 1-for-3 with a triple in the seventh. Center, junior Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) and senior Ian Hruniak (Lutz, Fla.) all finished 1-for-4. 

The Spartans 10-run inning included five singles, five walks, two errors, one triple and one hit batter, as the Aurora brought 16 batters to the plate in the inning.

Shortly before the bottom of the eighth, with the game only at 2-1, the Nighthawks had great opportunities to tie or take the lead.

In the seventh, the Nighthawks had runners on the corners with no outs. Sobray attempted to score from third on a squeeze play by Rhone, but Sobray was cut down at home, keeping the game at 2-1. A flyout and groundout would end the threat with the Nighthawks leaving two on base.

In the top half of the eighth, still at 2-1, the Nighthawks would load the bases with two outs and McGrorry at the plate. McGrorry made good contact, but flew out to center field to end the inning.

The Spartans then opened it up with the big inning, which included a 20-minute delay when the lights went off at the complex. In total, the bottom half of the inning took nearly 50 minutes to complete, including the delay.

Nighthawks senior Tim Brown (Orange, Conn.) takes the loss (1-1) despite a quality start of six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.

Spartans freshman Kyle Blunt (Rockton, Ill.) also pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits with eight strikeouts. Blunt started the game retiring 12 straight Nighthawk batters.

The Nighthawks and Spartans both take Tuesday off before meeting each other on Wednesday afternoon for both sides only game of the day; first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. EST.