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OTTAWA — The Ottawa baseball team continued to roll through the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division as the Pirates moved to 10-0 in the conference with a 9-1 victory Tuesday over Sterling at King Field.
The win is the 12th consecutive for the Pirates (16-2), who continue to stay atop of the conference race.
Ottawa got another solid performance from junior right-hander Kyle Wallbaum on the mound. He allowed one unearned run on four hits.
“Once again Kyle threw very well today for us,” Ottawa coach Don Heaberlin said. “He goes out and throws a complete game and under 80 pitches. He has a potential to be our No. 1 next year as a senior and he keeps showing he has the potential to step up in big games.”
Seth Coffey led off the bottom of the first with double into the right field gap. Two batters later, Michael Hermosillo doubled down the left-field line to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Tabor Griglione then made it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Sterling scored an unearned run in the top of the third.
But in the bottom half of the inning, the Pirates added three more runs to increase their lead.
Brazon Wheeler walked to lead off the inning.
Hermosillo then singled to left and Wallbaum helped himself out with an RBI single to left for a 3-1 lead.
Griglione and Tyler Skolek also picked up RBIs and gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead. Ottawa’s solid pitching continued and the Pirate outfielders chased down line drives to keep the four-run advantage until the fifth inning when they added another run. That’s where Skolek added his second RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Then in the sixth, the Pirates added three insurance runs to put the game away. Nick Harsted led off the inning reaching second base on a throwing error by pitcher Brandon Dennis. With two outs, the Golden Warriors decided to intentionally walk Hermosillo.
Wallbaum hit a two-run bloop single that scored Harsted and Hermosillo, who scored all the way from first base.
“I know Michael isn’t really crazy about getting walked there, but it’s huge for us,” Heaberlin said. “He turns a walk into a double or triple or score from first like he did by simply hustling and using that speed of his.”
Griglione picked up the other RBI to help give the Pirates a 9-1 victory over the Golden Warriors.
Coffey, Hermosillo, Wallbaum, Griglion and Skolek all had two hits apiece for the Pirates. Wallbaum had three RBIs, while Griglione and Skolek each had two RBIs. Once again Wallbaum went the distance giving up one unearned run and four hits.
The Pirates and Golden Warriors finish the series Thursday in Sterling.