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The Riverside-Brookfield baseball team's bid to win the Metro Suburban Conference went by the boards during a disappointing series-opening 8-5 loss to Timothy Christian last week.
Conference leaders Glenbard South and Illiana Christian had been keeping the pressure on the Bulldogs to essentially run the table in remaining conference action to claim the coveted league title
Timothy Christian spoiled the Bulldogs' late season surge by rallying from a 5-2 deficit en route to its 8-5 victory last week. RB scored three runs in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead as Alex Spirios and Jack Scott slapped key singles. An inning later, the Bulldogs tacked on two more runs courtesy of another timely hit courtesy of Kevin Garvey. The Trojans fought back, however, to move within 5-4 before RB pitcher Adam Kuta's balk tied the score at 5-5. Timothy Christian consolidated that costly miscue with three straight hits to ice the game at 8-5.
Kuta (4-4, 1.96 ERA) was the tough luck loser as the Bulldogs scratched out only four hits on the afternoon.
To their credit, RB (19-10, 11-4) bounced back from the disappointment of losing out on a conference title by beating the Trojans 2-0 and 19-2 in the remaining series games. Winning pitcher Alex Nenadovic (7-1, 2.03 ERA) tossed a one-hit, six-strikeout gem in the 2-0 victory. The versatile junior helped his own cause with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate which coupled nicely with CJ Duffek's solid 2-for-3 effort. Garvey chipped in an RBI double.
While lack of offense has been a recurring issue all season, the Bulldogs' bats went surprisingly wild in RB's 19-2 rout of the Trojans. Tom Leary led the merry-go-round offense with three hits and three RBIs, while Luke Keller, Joe Mulhern, Will Kincanon and Duffek had two hits apiece.
For the season, Duffek (.358 batting average, team-high 15 stolen bases), Nenadovic, Garvey and Leary share top RBI honors with 15 apiece, while Kincanon is hitting .360 with nine runs knocked in.
On the mound, Kincanon (6-2, 1.78 ERA) allowed no earned runs and three hits over five scoreless frames in the Bulldogs' lopsided victory. The rangy sophomore hurler, who features a lively fastball and superb off-speed pitches, leads RB with 69 strikeouts.
The Bulldogs take on Montini in nonconference action and then battle Ridgewood in a Metro Suburban three-game set to close out conference play this week.
Looking ahead to the postseason, RB drew the No.3 seed in the Glenbard South Sectional. The Bulldogs open the playoffs against the winner of Clark vs. Farragut on May 22 at Triton College.