ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Nazareth baseball tries to play a tough non-conference schedule, but there’s nothing like the East Suburban Catholic Conference for the Roadrunners.
Nazareth entered Saturday’s doubleheader at St. Viator undefeated, but that changed after the Lions and Roadrunners split. The Roadrunners won Game 1 9-2 but dropped Game 2 6-2.
“We talk a lot about the different parts of the season,” said Nazareth coach Lee Milano. “Our conference is so demanding. It’s so difficult. Every game is a tough game. I think they’re excited to be in the conference.”
In Game 1, the Roadrunners scored six runs in the top of the seventh to create separation from the Lions. Milano described Game 2 as a bad game after a long day that included ACT testing for juniors. Nazareth committed five errors that resulted in four unearned runs and the offense didn’t do much to make up for it.
“The way I look at it we’ve played 13 games so far, if we have one off game in 13 when it’s all said and done we have a pretty good record,” Milano said. “It’s just one of those things that we’ll chalk up to experience and just move on.”
Their next conference opponent is Benet with games coming on Monday and Wednesday, April 24. From there, the Roadrunners will get into the rhythm of playing four conference games a week.
Seniors Kyle Piotrowski and Jake Bartels have starred on the mound as expected, but sophomore Mike Kogut has also impressed. Kogut pitched a complete game one-hitter against Guerin on Friday and had 12 strikeouts. The pitching depth, which is necessary in the ESCC schedule, has been a staple of Nazareth baseball in recent years.
The Roadrunners entered Monday’s non-conference tilt at Ridgewood with an 11-1-1 record.
“I think we knew we had a good pitching staff and a lot of returners,” Milano said. “I knew going into the season we felt we were going to be pretty good.”