MORRIS – Morris spared itself the drama that was prevalent in the first two games of its Northern Illinois Big 12 East baseball series with Sycamore, winning Friday’s rubber match, 12-1, in five innings.
Game 1 of the series featured a late Morris comeback, and Game 2 a thwarted Redskins rally. But all Sycamore (10-3, 4-2 NI Big 12 East) could do after Morris went ahead big Friday was thwart its bid for a shutout in the fifth.
Morris (11-6, 3-2 NI Big 12 East) used small ball and the long ball to score three first-inning runs. Austin Conrod walked, and Matt Bernickus singled with a grounder to the shortstop on a hit-and-run to start the inning. A Trevor Lines sacrifice and a Tom Cheshareck RBI groundout got one run home. Tim Smyk then plated both Bernickus and himself by hitting a home run to right field.
“They just hit the ball today,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “We just didn’t do a good job on the mound of pitching ahead and keeping the ball down. You’ve got to keep the ball down on a day like today, and you’ve really got to do a good job of changing speeds, and we didn’t do either of those things.”
Sycamore scored its lone run in the fifth. Mark Skelley hit a one-out single, and after an error and a walk loaded the bases, Alex Swedberg hit into a fielder’s choice to bring home Skelley. Morris pitcher Cody Niewinski allowed no further damage, getting Alec Kozak to ground out to end the threat.
“We were impatient as hitters,” Cavanaugh said. “Too many balls off the end of the bat. Lot of cue shots to the right side today when we needed to stay back and make a conscious effort to hit the ball to right field.”