SYCAMORE – When Sycamore pitcher Matt Godinsky came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday against Yorkville, the Spartans were just 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Godinsky had kept Sycamore in the game by holding the visiting Foxes to two runs, but the Spartans still trailed Yorkville by one.
With Alec Kozak on second, Godinsky came up with the hit Sycamore needed, putting Yorkville pitcher Blake Szurkowski’s offering right back up the middle into center field and Kozak came around to score.
Two batters later, Clark O’Donnell came up with the Spartans’ second key hit of the inning, lacing a line drive past Foxes left fielder Josh Cooper, scoring Colin Eggleson, the courtesy runner for Godinsky, and giving Sycamore a 3-2 victory.
“I got up 2-0 in the count. I was looking for a fastball. He threw me a curveball instead,” O’Donnell said. “So I took that pitch for a strike, but I was still sitting on the fastball for that next pitch, and he threw it to me, and I just put a good swing on it.”
Yorkville had taken the lead when Luis Correa hit a long home run to right-center field in the top of the seventh. The Foxes scored their first run of the game on a Chris Hill solo blast in the first.
Yorkville (16-10-1, 10-3 Northern Illinois Big 12) starting pitcher Brett Assell allowed only five hits in six innings. The Spartans (16-9, 7-6 NI Big 12) scored their first run on a Kozak RBI double in the fifth, which scored Fred Beltrame.
Sycamore squandered an opportunity to take the lead in the fifth with Kozak on second and Mitchell Jordan on first after a single. Assell got Godinsky to pop out to second and Nate Haacker ended the inning by grounding out to third.
“We had chances during the game, and we couldn’t get anything across,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “We had the right guys up in spots. The [fifth] inning, we get three solid hits, including a double, and we only walk away with one run?”
Assell gave the Sycamore batters fits during his six innings of work, striking out five. The run he gave up in the fifth inning was the first run he had allowed in conference play.
The Foxes left-hander came into the game with an ERA of 0.82. He kept the Spartans off balance by working in his curveball and change-up, even when he got behind in the count.
“He doesn’t overpower anybody,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “But he’s able to throw three different pitches for strikes, and he just finds a way to get guys to swing at bad pitches and get outs.”
Godinsky gave up just five hits in a complete game as he improved to 5-3. He struck out nine.
“Matt did a great job keeping us in the game,” O’Donnell said. “Any time you give up two runs in the game it’s going to give your team a chance to win. I think he did a great job on the mound, and I think our defense did a great job also.”