STERLING – Eleven. That’s how many runs Sterling managed during its five-game losing streak entering Monday’s game against Streator.
The Golden Warriors broke out in a big way, rolling to a 14-0, five-inning win over the Bulldogs on a cool, rainy evening at Gartner Park in the opener of the three-game Northern Illinois Big 12 West series. The 14 runs were a season high.
Tanner Morse led the way for Sterling (6-7, 1-3). Morse (3-2) hurled a four-hit shutout, striking out six and walking two. Offensively, he went 2-for-3 with three runs scored at the top of the lineup.
“We’ve been waiting for a game when we put it all together,” Morse said. “We’ve had games where we’ve had great innings, but today we played five great innings.”
The Warriors took immediate control, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings. Zach Rehmert had a two-run single and Logan Rippy an RBI base hit in the first inning. Bryant Lilly provided a two-run single in the second, while Morse scored on a wild pitch.
Sterling put the game away by the 10-run rule with an eight-run fourth.
Rippy, Trevor Delgado, Kaleb Francque and pinch hitter Eldon Oltmanns had RBI singles, and four runs scored on wild pitches.
“It feels great to come out and beat a team like that,” said Rippy, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs. “We needed it for a confidence booster, and to let us know that we can. We can do this. We just have to believe in ourselves.”
The Warriors pounded out 14 hits, with 10 players getting in on the act.
“We’ve been on these guys pretty hard the last 2 to 3 weeks about our approach, and staying back and trying to hit the ball up the middle,” Sterling coach Robbie Minor said. “I think it’s starting to sink in, and we were ready to play today. If we start making the plays we should, I think we can play with anybody.”
Streator (2-8, 0-3) got just two runners to third base.
Star of the game: Tanner Morse, Sterling, 4-hit shutout, 2-3, 3B, 3 runs
Key performers: Logan Rippy, Sterling, 2-3, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Bryant Lilly and Zach Rehmert, Sterling, 2 RBIs apiece
Up next: Sterling at Streator, 4:30 p.m. today