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NIACC beats Kirkwood 2-1 in opening round at regional baseball

niacc_trojans_logoWATERLOO – The NIACC baseball team topped Kirkwood 2-1 in the opening round of the Region XI baseball tournament Friday afternoon.

Sophomore right-hander Lucas Bakker (8-1) went the distance (9 innings) to move NIACC into Saturday’s 4 p.m. second round contest against Southwestern.

Bakker scattered seven hits, allowed one run, struck out 5 and walked 1 in winning his school-best 15th career game.

“He was phenomenal,” NIACC coach Travis Hergert said of his ace. “He didn’t have his best stuff early on.

“He was pitching after jam after jam and he finally started to settle in. He was getting ahead of guys and was putting guys away.”

Bakker allowed a single run to Kirkwood in the sixth inning and NIACC committed one error behind Bakker.

“We made great plays behind him,” Hergert said, “and in a tournament setting like this if you can pitch and make plays you’re going to make a run in this thing.”

Fourth-seeded NIACC (23-15) faces eighth-seeded Southwestern (12-28) in the second round at 4 p.m. Saturday. Southwestern upset top-seeded DMACC 2-1 in its first round contest.

In Friday’s contest, NIACC pushed across its two runs in the fourth inning. Reynaldo Sala plated Drew Verstegen with an RBI single and Max Waletich scored when Tanner Unkel flew out to Kirkwood second baseman Ozzie Adams down the right field line.

“Hunter King had a big, big bunt there in that inning,” Hergert said. “And then Sala drove in the run. It just comes down to execution.

“We did that inning and it was more than enough.”

After NIACC took the lead in the fourth inning, Bakker held to two hits and no runs in Kirkwood’s final five at-bats.

NIACC catcher Robert Swenson said all of Bakker’s pitches were working Friday.

“It was a great job by Lucas (Friday),” Swenson said. “His slider was on, his 2-seamer, his 4-seamer, everything. He was hitting his spots.”


Kirkwood 001 000 000 – 1 7 0

NIACC 000 200 00x – 2 4 1

Cale Henke (4K, 2BB) and Dairo Gonzalez. Lucas Bakker (5K, 1BB) and Robert Swenson. W – Bakker (8-1); L – Henke (4-5). 2B – Ozzie Adams (K). Multiple hits – Dennis Colon (K) 2.

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