ROCHELLE — A seven-run frame doomed the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team on Monday, when LaSalle-Peru erased an early deficit to take the Interstate 8 Conference series opener.
Rochelle surged ahead of the Cavaliers with five runs in the bottom of the first inning, but LaSalle-Peru countered with seven runs in the top of the second inning to regain control of the game. Senior Andy Buskohl delivered a late home run for the Hubs, but the Cavaliers hung on to defeat Rochelle 10-8 and take the home-and-home series opener. The Hubs (5-9, 4-7 Interstate 8) will attempt to split the series on the road Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
Senior Nate Burdin drove in the first run of the evening for the Hubs, belting an RBI double to right-center that scored senior Eric Briseno, who walked to open the frame. After Buskohl and senior Braden Alfano reached on hit-by-pitches to load the bases, senior Owen Angell drew a walk to bring the team’s second run home. Still with no outs, junior Noah Lara reached on an error to score Buskohl before junior Colton O’Rorke plated Alfano on a sacrifice fly to left field.
Angell scored on a passed ball for Rochelle’s fifth run of the first inning. Brendan Boudreau led off the top of the second inning for the Cavaliers, crushing a solo homer to center that ignited LaSalle-Peru’s seven-run frame. After the Cavaliers loaded the bases, Jack Scheri smacked a two-run double to make the score 5-3 with no outs in the inning. Seth Adams plated another run on an RBI groundout before Julius Sanchez reached on an error to bring Scheri across home.
LaSalle-Peru took the lead when Aidan Van Duzer powered a two-run blast to left-center field. Trailing for the first time, Rochelle answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning, where Buskohl cranked a solo shot over the center-field fence and Lara slapped an RBI double into right-center field. The Cavaliers moved ahead in the top of the fifth inning, where Sanchez’s sacrifice fly and Van Duzer’s second home run of the game gave the Cavaliers a 9-7 lead.
Briseno brought the Hubs within one run in the bottom of the fifth inning, rolling an RBI single through the middle to score junior Colton O’Rorke, who walked to open the frame. Looking for some insurance, LaSalle-Peru scratched one run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single from Boudreau. Rochelle went three up, three down in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Buskohl and Alfano each finished 2-for-3 in the game, with Alfano scoring two runs to lead the Hubs in the loss. Rochelle’s pitching staff combined for seven strikeouts in the game.