The bad thing about playing doubleheaders is that when the first game is the highlight, the second-game loss tends to stick around more at the end of the day.
That’s the position th North Central College baseball team found itself in Saturday in CCIW play against Elmhurst.
The Cardinals posted a decisive 11-2 win in the first game behind Waubonsie Valley graduate Kris Singh. But in Game 2, the Bluejays rallied for a 4-2 win to take the three-game series. Elmhurst won 7-4 at home Friday night.
“We took a nice step forward in Game 1, and obviously we took a step back in the second game,” NCC coach John Fitzgerald said. “I wish I had a good answer for why that is the case.
“We were just unable to get much offense going (in Game 2). The guys were pressing a little bit. It gets a little bit tougher when you’re trying to get wins. ”
The runs weren’t a problem in the first game for NCC (14-10, 6-6). Singh (4-0) walked one in the first that wound up coming around to score, but that was his last walk. He went eight strong innings, striking out six and scattering nine hits.
“I really wanted to focus on getting ahead, throwing strikes with my fastball and curveball,” Singh said. “I tried my best to keep the ball in and keep them confused with my off-speed pitches.”
The Cardinals got to Elmhurst (8-16, 3-9) in the third. The Cardinals pushed five runs across in the inning, including an RBI double from Vito DeRango and an RBI triple from Nick DeWolf. The Cardinals added two more in the fourth and four more in the seventh to pull away.
“I love when our guys are hitting,” Singh said. “They got me plenty of runs. I love run support. I do want to say that my defense was incredible. I have so much confidence knowing I can go out and throw whatever I want knowing that I have those guys behind me.”
Joe Paparone went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI in the first game, and then went 2-for-4 in the nightcap. DeWolf and Sam Klein each had two hits in Game 1.
The Cardinals left their bats behind in Game 2 as Elmhurst rallied for a 4-2 win off of NCC starter Bryan Polowy (1-2). A three-run sixth for the Bluejays did in the Cardinals. NCC hung around, but couldn’t rally late.
The Cardinals have now won only three of their last nine while dealing with a rash of injuries.
“We’ve been trying to make do,” Fitzgerald said. “The issue isn’t the opponent we’re playing. They executed and made some plays, I don’t want to take anything away from them. It’s really more in our head, pressing.”