After winning four straight games by an average of almost 15 runs per game, the North Rangers found themselves in a pitcher’s duel with visiting Benedictine on Thursday.
The Bengals moved the tying runner to third base in the top of the seventh but Kenny Streb pitched out of the jam to seal North’s 3-2 win and extend its winning streak to seven games.
“The great thing is that we’ve had a couple games where we’ve won by a larger margin so I think it’s good that we played in such a tight game,” said North coach Kyle Stahlberg. “It shows us we need to come and play hard every day and execute because not every game is going to go so well offensively.”
North collected just six hits in the game but three of them came in the bottom of the first when Tyler Nagorski hit a one-out double and Charlie Finucan and Chase Axelrod hit back-to-back singles to make it 1-0.
Nagorski has now hit in eight straight games to raise his batting average to .452. Finucan also has an eight-game hitting streak, which raised his average to .457.
Benedictine tied it in the third on a hit and a passed ball but the Rangers responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good.
Streb drew a leadoff walk and stole second. He moved to third on Nagorski’s single and scored on Finucan’s sacrifice fly.
Jack Piascik added two hits for the Rangers, who have consistently manufactured runs and collected big hits in clutch situations.
“It’s great having those guys throughout the order really start to find their strokes,” Stahlberg said. “They’re really working hard at making sure they’re prepared for games and you can see it. It’s translating on the field.”
Cam Shreves allowed the one earned run in five innings of work to pick up the win. He gave up just four hits and struck out one. He set the Bengals down in order in three of his five innings.
“Cam had an excellent game,” Stahlberg said. “He was around the plate the whole time and made them earn everything they got. Props to him for getting it done.”
Streb pitched the final two innings to pick up the save.
He gave up three hits in the sixth, which allowed the Bengals to pull to within 3-2, and a one-out double in the seventh that made things interesting at the end.
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