Baseball: Pat Elget’s homer ignites Andrew’s win over RichardsJustin Rzeszutko, of Andrew, drives in a run against Richards for the Richards Regional Semifinal, Thursday, May 24th, 2012 in Oak Lawn, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 24, 2012 8:11PM
With a strong breeze blowing directly out Thursday, Pat Elget and his Andrew teammates couldn’t help but talk home runs before their Class 4A semifinal game against Richards.
Elget put that long-ball talk into action, clubbing a three-run homer in the first inning to lead No. 19 Andrew to a 9-3 win over Richards.
The Thunderbolts (26-10) advance to Saturday’s regional final against Marist (25-11).
“Pat’s homer kind of set the tone for the game,” Andrew coach Dave DeHaan said. “Up and down our line-up, we got contributions.”
Elget’s blow staked the Thunderbolts to a 3-0 lead.
Eight of Andrew’s nine starters reached base on the day.
Dan Durkin (2-for-4), Justin Rzeszutko (2-for-3, RBI), Zach Klockowski (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and Brian Grad (2-for-4, RBI) had multi-hit days for Andrew. Steve Carrabotta contributed a two-run single and reached base three times.
“It was good getting momentum on our side early,” Elget said. “During warmups we were talking about hitting home runs. The way the wind was blowing out, you just had to hit the ball on the barrel and it would take care of itself.”
Richards (21-14) clawed its way back from a 6-1 deficit to close to within 6-3 after three innings.
Ricky Palacios (2-for-3, RBI) blasted a solo homer, Jesse Valenti (2-for-3, RBI) had a run-scoring double and Jim Augle (1-for-1, RBI) forced in a run on the first of his three walks on the day.
Andrew pitcher Marcus Radz limited the Bulldogs’ damage the first three innings, stranding five base runners.
He retired nine of his last 11 before being removed after walking Augle to start the seventh. Radz allowed six hits — all in the first three innings — walked five and struck out nine in a 96-pitch effort.
“Getting that early lead settled me down,” said Radz, who is 5-3 on the season. “(Assistant) Coach (Roy) Bullard really got in my face and I showed everyone what type of pitcher I can be and will be the rest of the playoffs.”