Sandburg Baseball Riding 5-Game Streak After Spring Break Trip

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 17, 2017 2:02 PM

Galesburg, IL

The Carl Sandburg College baseball team’s Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., last weekend featured plenty of R&R — runs and routs.


The Chargers outscored their opponents 42-7 while going unbeaten in four games (their final doubleheader, scheduled for Monday against USC Sumter, was canceled because of inclement weather) and extending their overall win streak to five.


“The guys did a good taking care of business when we were the better team. We swung the bats well and did a good job of keeping our foot on the gas once we had a lead. Our pitching staff did a great job of attacking the zone and pitching with the lead,” fourth-year coach Jake Tenhouse said. “When you’re the better team, you’ve still got to go out and play like the better team. We did a good job of doing that and taking care of business.”


Sandburg (6-4), which opened the season against several other in-state teams at John A. Logan and played a doubleheader at Quincy JV before the trip, picked up a pair of victories over Queensborough (N.Y.) and single wins over Henry Ford (Mich.) and Hood (Md.) JV. The Chargers’ closest contest along the coast was an 8-2 win over Henry Ford.


The Chargers have averaged 8.1 runs and hit 10 home runs through 10 games. Among the leaders at the plate are sophomore catcher Marty Mennenga (Rantoul, Ill./Paxton-Buckley-Loda) (.452 average, .564 on-base percentage, 8 RBI), freshman outfielder Shane Coleman (Abingdon, Ill./Abingdon-Avon) (.344 average, .462 on-base, 2 HR, 11 RBI) and sophomore outfielder Levi Brening (Coon Rapids, Minn./DuQuoin) (.452 on-base, 1.188 OPS, 2 HR, 11 RBI). Freshman outfielder Payton Hartbank (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon) has been productive at the plate and on the basepths with a .488 OPB, 1.018 OPS and team highs of 14 runs and six stolen bases.


“Our lineup is deeper than it’s been. One through nine we don’t have an easy out in the lineup,” Tenhouse said. “The returners understand what I expect and know what it takes to be successful at this level. Their experience has helped our young guys step in and contribute right away.”


Sophomores Matt Trouten (Moline, Ill./Moline), Alec Drake (Macomb, Ill./Macomb) and Brenton Stropes (Aledo, Ill./Mercer County) have led Sandburg on the mound so far. Trouten fanned a career-best eight batters in the Chargers’ season opener and has a 2.46 ERA in 14.2 innings. The left-handed Drake tossed a two-hit complete game victory against Queensborough and also sports a 2.46 ERA. Stropes, another southpaw, has allowed just one earned run over 10.2 innings, highlighted by a three-hit complete game victory over Hood JV. Brening, also a right-handed pitcher, is 2-0 and has whiffed a team-best 24 batters in just 14 innings.


As a team, the Chargers have a 3.43 ERA and struck out 65 in 63 innings. Sandburg also has been solid defensively, committing just 13 errors.


“Our pitchers have done a good job of attacking the strike zone and letting guys make plays behind them,” Tenhouse said. “If we stay healthy and continue to work at improving each day, we have a chance to have a good spring.”

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Aaron Frey