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[Baseball] SAU tackles full weekend slate against top CCAC competition

The Fighting Bees took on a daunting weekend of baseball, playing four games in three days against the top two teams in the CCAC. The Bees faced off against the Olivet Nazarene Tigers in three games on Friday and Saturday, then turned around to square-off against Judson Eagles in a nine-inning matchup on Sunday.

The Bees traveled to Bourbonnais, Ill. on Friday for the first game of three, a game in which St. Ambrose prevailed thanks to some late game heroics. 

The game was scoreless heading into the fifth inning until Shawn Rigsby punched in Brenden Alsup on a base hit to left field. Alsup got on base with a single of his own down the left field line, and was then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Mike Coughlin.

After the Bees broke the scoring drought, Olivet Nazarene came to life. The Tigers scored two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth and added an extra run in the bottom of the seventh to push their lead to 3-1 heading into the final inning. Alsup got the ninth-inning rally started with his second base hit of the day. Mike Snow came in to pinch-run for Alsup, who was then moved to second when Coughlin drew a walk. After a pop-up to shallow infield had the Bees one out from defeat, Rigsby belted a clutch double down the right field line to punch in Snow and keep the Bees alive. Liam Dennehy followed up Rigsby with a go-ahead two-RBI single to center field to put the Bees up 4-3 in the ninth inning.

Nick Hernandez, who came in for relief in the bottom of the sixth, retired the side in the ninth to give the Bees a big win over Olivet Nazarene. Hernandez threw four innings in relief and picked up the win, only allowing one earned run on five hits and punching out two. Adam Deal went five complete innings as the starter, only allowing two earned runs and hurling four strikeouts.

Saturday's slate was a little different for the Bees, dropping both games in the doubleheader against Olivet.

SAU had an early 3-2 lead over Olivet in the first game on Satuday, with Brenden Butler punching in Cooper Huckabone on a single up the middle to give the Bees the lead in the bottom of the third. However, this would be the last run that they were able to score, ultimately falling 8-3 to the Tiger in game 1.

Cole Aughenbaugh went 2-for-3 and scored a run while Butler went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Fighting Bees. Colton Carr was the game 1 starter, going 4 and 2/3 innings. Malcolm Walker came in to relieve Carr in the fifth inning, pitching the Bees out of a jam. Jacob Sciame closed the game out for SAU, pitching two innings of no-hit baseball. Carr was credited with the loss.

Game 2 on Saturday was a very similar story, with the Bees finding an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning off of a bases-loaded balk that scored Dennehy, followed by a Max Rumpf sac fly to put the Bees in great position. However, the Tigers would score seven straight runs in the final four innings to complete the doubleheader sweep over the Bees.

Michael Dudek got the start for the Bees in game 2, going seven innings and surrendering three earned runs. Walker and Collin Rogiers both came in for relief; Dudek was given the loss.

After taking on a top-CCAC team in Olivet on Friday and Saturday, St. Ambrose squared off against another top team in the conference in a make-up game against Judson.

The Eagles jumped on the Bees right off the bat, picking up five runs across the first three innings. The Bees couldn't keep up and the game quickly got out of hand. The Bees dropped the marquee conference matchup against Judson with a final score of 12-5.

Kyel Alexander went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored from the leadoff spot. In very similar fashion, Huckabone went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and run scored in the three-hole. James Cormier was the starter for the Bees, picking up the loss in 4 2/3 innings pitcher. Conor OHara, Sciame and Danny Fieweger all pitched in relief for the Fighting Bees.

The daunting weekend of baseball drops the Bees back to .500 overall, 18-18. The 1-3 weekend moves the Bees to 14-5 in the CCAC, in a deadlock for second-place with Olivet Nazarene. The Bees will take on another conference foe in St. Francis (Ill.) in Joliet, Ill. on April 20.

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