STERLING – Logan Rippy didn't like his last few pitching performances, so he made the necessary adjustments.
There wasn't much not to like about his outing Saturday. Rippy fired a three-hitter in Sterling's 9-3 win in Game 1 of a Northern Illlinois Big 12 crossover doubleheader with Rochelle in strong winds at Gartner Park. The Golden Warriors completed the sweep with a 10-4 win.
Rippy allowed the Hubs' only three hits of the opener in Rochelle's three-run third inning. Only two of the Hubs' runs were earned. Rippy struck out six and walked three.
"The past few games my mechanics were a little off, so I took some time to work on them, and it paid off," Rippy said. "I wasn't pulling my front side though and following through all the way. I was leaving them high, and now I've got it."
Sterling (13-17), which had lost four of five, jumped in front 2-0 with a two-run first inning. Bryant Lilly, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the game, provided an RBI groundout, and Rippy scored from second when Zach Rehmert reached on an error.
Rochelle (2-21) went ahead 3-2 with its three-run third, but the Warriors regained control with a three-run fourth before adding three more in the fifth and another in the sixth.
Sterling banged out eight hits in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Kaleb Francque had an RBI single, with the other two runs coming via a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Alex Knickrehm's two-run single was the key blow in the Warriors' fifth, which also saw Francque contribute a sacrifice fly.
Lilly provided more insurance with an RBI single in the sixth.
In Game 2, Sterling spotted Rochelle three runs in the first before Rippy and Tanner Morse led the Warriors back.
Morse, Sterling's igniter at the top of the lineup, went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs in Game 2, and was 5-for-7 with four runs scored on the day.
"I was seeing the ball pretty well, barreling it up and hitting the ball hard," Morse said.
After going 0-for-3 in the opener, Rippy, the No. 3 hitter, bounced back to go 3-for-4 with his first triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Rippy's RBI triple came in the first, when Rehmert added an RBI groundout. Morse had an RBI double in the second to make it 3-3.
Sterling erupted for four runs on five hits in the fourth to go up 7-3. Morse had another RBI double, Rehmert and Rippy RBI singles, and Knickrehm a run-scoring groundout.
The Warriors made it 9-3 with two runs in the fifth. Peter Haglund, who had tripled in the fourth, had an RBI single. and Trevor Delgado scored on a wild pitch.
Sterling tacked on one more run in the sixth, with pinch hitter Frankie Perino delivering an RBI single.
Knickrehm got the workmanlike win, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits over five innings. He did not have a walk or a strikeout. Eldon Oltmanns came on for the final two frames, allowing a run on two hits and two walks.
The Warriors hope the doubleheader sweep kick-starts them.
"It would be nice to get something going heading into the postseason," Morse said.
"This can give us a lot of momentum coming into the last week before regionals," Rippy said. "We need to get hot right at the end of the year to make a run."
Star of the games: Tanner Morse, Sterling, 5-7, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Key performers: Luke Manning, Rochelle, 3-7, 4 RBI, 2 3B; Logan Rippy, 3-7, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3-hit win in Game 1
Up next: DeKalb at Sterling, 4:30 p.m. Monday