4A Sectional Semifinal: Brother Rice Walks Off Against St. Rita

Brother Rice 4, St. Rita 3

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

CHICAGO, IL – In the bottom of the seventh inning and the score tied at three, Brother Rice had runners on first and second, with junior Jack Guzek at the plate. Guzek, an Indiana State commit, reached out and flaired a ball down the right field line. The ball landed in front of the right-fielder and just fair, giving Guzek the walk-off game winning hit and No. 1 Brother Rice a come from behind 4-3 win over No. 5 St. Rita.

Illinois recruit, Ryan Kutt, started on the mound for Brother Rice (35-3) but made his presence felt at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Trailing 3-1 and five outs away from elimination, Kutt got a pitch out over the plate and belted a no-doubt, two-run home run to deep left-center field. The big blast tied the game at three and changed the momentum for the Crusaders.

Right-handed pitcher Jack Nelligan made quick work of St. Rita (29-9) in the top of the seventh, allowing the Crusader offense and Guzek a chance to win the game. Andy Lopez led off the inning with a line-drive single to center. The following batter attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt but St. Rita pitcher Matt Verdun bounced off the mound and threw a strike to second base getting the lead runner. Shortstop Ryan King, a Michigan State commit, was next to the plate, and drove a line-drive to the left-field wall. With the St. Rita outfield playing deep, in a no doubles defense, it looked as though the left-fielder had a beat on it. At the last second however the ball got lost in the sun and landed for a single. That is when Guzek came to the plate delivering the walk-off hit advancing the Crusaders to the Sectional Final.

Early on it looked good for St. Rita. Starter Steven Washilewski, a Kansas commit, was keeping the Brother Rice offense at bay and Cal Greenfield, a Florida commit, delivered a two-run single to open up the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. Brother Rice chipped away at the lead the following half inning when Andrew Dyke, an Illinois commit, barreled a run scoring single.

In the top of the fifth inning, after Brother Rice cut the lead to 2-1, sophomore Jake Zylman hit a solo homerun to dead center field, giving the Mustangs a two run cushion once again.

Senior, Jack Nelligan picked up the win out of the bullpen for the Crusaders and moves to 11-1 on the year.

Brother Rice moves on to the Sectional Final and will play the winner of St. Laurence vs Mount Carmel on Saturday at St. Rita at 11:00 am.

+ RHP Jack Nelligan (Brother Rice) – W, 1.2IP, 1H, 1K
+ Ryan Kutt (Brother Rice) – 2-for-3, HR, 2RBI, R
+ SS Ryan King (Brother Rice) – 2-for-4, 2B,
+ 3B Jack Guzek (Brother Rice) – 2-for-4, GW RBI
+ C Andy Lopez (Brother Rice) – 2-for-3
+ C Cal Greenfield (St. Rita) – 2-for-3, 2RBI
+ DH Jake Zylman (St. Rita) – 1-for-3, HR, RBI, R
+ RF Danny Gleaves (St. Rita) – 1-for-2, R, BB
+ LF Colan Fitzgerald (St. Rita) – 1-for-2, R, BB, SB