STEGER | Beecher has learned a valuable lesson about Illinois Lutheran this season: it's hard to hit off of Sam Geraci.
Geraci mowed down the Bobcats over seven innings Monday at Steger Field as the Chargers moved into a first-place tie in the River Valley Conference with a 5-2 win.
Geraci pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings before allowing two harmless runs in a shaky seventh. The emerging ace recovered to finish the strong outing and moved to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 against Beecher. The junior allowed four hits and walked just one while striking out 14 hitters on 115 pitches.
Geraci defeated the Bobcats 5-1 on April 26. Needless to say, Geraci feels comfortable on the mound against Beecher (10-12, 7-3).
“I came in with the same approach as last time ... just throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” Geraci said.
He struck out the first three Beecher hitters to open the contest, and collected his eighth Mike Pignatiello was out swinging with a runner in scoring position to end the third inning.
It wasn’t until Beecher’s sophomore pitcher Chase Wyatt (1-1) and the Beecher defense unraveled in the bottom of the fifth frame that Geraci found some run support.
Eric Dorn led of the Chargers’ half of the inning with an infield single, moving to third when Chris Falk reached on an error by the shortstop. Evan Falk followed with a deep single to right center field to score Dorn for a 1-0 lead. Geraci was hit by a pitch and another error at short scored Chris and Evan Falk to push the lead to 3-0. A third error in the inning allowed two more runs to give Illinois Lutheran a 5-0 cushion.
Cameron Morgan finished the inning for the Bobcats, and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
“I thought Chase had a great game today, we just had a few errors that snowballed on us,” said Beecher coach Brandon DuBois. “We couldn’t make the plays to get out of that inning, and that prove crucial for us.”
Beecher finally scraped some offense together in the seventh inning when Pignatiello scored on a wild pitched third strike. Kyle Wirkus added the Bobcats’ final run on another Geraci wild pitch with two outs.
“I never lost focus from the very beginning,” Geraci said. “I knew my offense would eventually get going for me, so I just pitched my game the way I know I could, and it all worked out.”
Illinois Lutheran can win the RVC crown with a win over conference rivals St. Anne or Grant Park.