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Despite scoring five runs over three games, the Riverside-Brookfield baseball team still managed to take two out of three Metro Suburban Conference clashes from defending champion Illiana Christian last week. The Bulldogs' critical series win pulls them within one game of league leaders Illiana Christian and Glenbard South. It's also worth noting that RB (14-9, 9-3) holds the tiebreaker over both league rivals, due to series wins over both clubs.
After dropping the series opener 6-0 at Illiana Christian as RB mustered only four hits, the Bulldogs bounced back the next two games via outstanding pitching performances from sophomore Will Kincanon and senior Adam Kuta.
In Game 2 of the series, Kincanon (4-2, 2.25 ERA) tossed a complete game gem, allowing no earned runs on six hits with 11 strikeouts in a 4-3 Bulldogs' victory. Kincanon, also hitting .377 for RB, has shown stellar control all spring racking up 48 strikeouts while only issuing 14 walks in 37 1/3 innings.
"Kincanon owned the game," RB coach Dallas Till said about his prized sophomore's performance against IC. "His changeup, which is his best pitch, was filthy. He really spotted the ball well the entire game."
After the Vikings scratched out an unearned run to go up 1-0, the Bulldogs' C.J. Duffek (2-for-4, three RBIs) crushed a two-run homer with Luke Keller aboard in the third inning to take the lead at 2-1. Tied at 2-2 in the fourth inning, Alex Nenadovic, Kevin Garvey, Dylan Beketic, Keller and Duffek strung together five consecutive hits to plate two more runs giving RB a 4-2 advantage. The Vikings pulled within 4-3 in the seventh on back-to-back doubles, but Kincanon left the tying run on third base via a clutch strikeout to kill the Illiana Christian rally and secure the win.
RB closed out the series in fine fashion with a 1-0 win on Friday at Ehlert Park. Kuta (4-3, 1.95 ERA) picked up where Kincanon left off with another strong effort on the mound. The hard-throwing senior tossed a complete game three-hitter and recorded nine strikeouts. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Garvey singled and advanced to second base on a passed ball. He ultimately scored on a throwing error from the Illiana Christian first baseman trying to peg Garvey at third base.
"Adam Kuta was lights out," Till said. "He worked his way out of a few jams early and really pitched an excellent game. We're happy with winning the [Illiana Christian] series, but our offense isn't where it needs to be. We only have three guys hitting over .300 and I'm still fiddling with the lineup. We need to generate more offense. Our pitching and defense have carried us all season."
The Bulldogs travel to Antioch on Thursday and Wheaton Academy on Saturday.
"We're playing several nonconference games against some teams we're familiar with like Shepard," Till said. "It makes for some nice rivalries."