ROCHELLE — Looking to avoid starting the season with an Interstate 8 Conference sweep, Rochelle’s varsity baseball team had a tough time generating offense Wednesday evening, when the Hubs battled Ottawa hurler Jack Olson and the Pirates in Game 2 of the series.
The left-hander Olson was in complete control, striking out seven Rochelle batters and limited the Hubs to only two hits as the Pirates defeated Rochelle 10-1. The Hubs (0-2) avoided the shutout in the seventh inning, where junior Owen Angell reached on a dropped third strike and scored on a passed ball. Rochelle will take on Indian Creek in a doubleheader this weekend.
“We saw some good things out of our pitchers,” head coach Jarrod Reynolds said. “I thought Andy [Buskohl] settled down after the first inning and I thought both Braden [Alfano] and Mark [Hopkins] threw the ball well. Offensively, we weren’t able to get out bats going. We need to get more swings in and I think our kids are still getting used to playing at game speed.”
Junior Andy Buskohl started on the mound for Rochelle, throwing three and one-third innings and striking out three batters. Junior Braden Alfano entered in relief, fanning two over two and two-thirds innings before senior Mark Hopkins finished with one strikeout in one inning of relief. Ottawa scored four runs in the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead on an RBI triple from Evan Evola, who then scored on an error. Luke Cushing made it 4-0 Pirates on a two-run homer.
RBI singles from Cushing and Adam Weitzel put the Pirates ahead 6-0 in the fifth inning. Rochelle went hitless until the bottom of the fifth inning, where junior Eric Briseno reached on an infield single to end Olson’s no-hit bid. After two Pirate runners reached in the sixth inning, Ottawa iced its victory with four runs on three singles, one walk and a Hub error in the seventh inning. Junior Jacob Andrist singled for Rochelle in the bottom of the seventh inning.