Baseball: Josh Haugen’s big day lifts Aurora ChristianAurora Christian second baseman Michael Free throws to first base against Guerin Prep in Montgomery on Wednesday. Apr. 18. 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
With the wind howling out as Aurora Christian’s baseball team arrived at Stuart Sports Complex Wednesday, the Eagles had a feeling some big hitting could be on the horizon.
The Eagles took full advantage of the conditions in pounding out seven extra-base hits — and 12 hits total — in a convincing 8-3 Suburban Christian Gold win over Guerin.
Senior shortstop Josh Haugen led the charge with nine total bases, falling just a single short of hitting for the cycle. He scored three runs and drove in three more, including his third home run of the season.
“We played a game there sophomore year against Chicago Christian and the wind was blowing out really badly and the score was like 24-16, so whenever the wind blows like that out here, it’s always in the back of your mind that it could be a long day,” Haugen said. “Coming off a slump last week, I just wanted to make good contact today.”
In the first inning, it appeared the lights may have to eventually be turned on at Stuart the way both teams swung the sticks. Guerin (7-11-1, 1-4-1) scored two in the first on an RBI double from Anthony Marra and an RBI triple from pitcher Mike Marra, but the Gators scored only once the rest of the game as Aurora Christian starter Kenny McCracken settled in.
Aurora Christian (11-5, 4-2) answered with a four-run bottom of the first, fueled by two-run home runs from Haugen and McCracken, both to the opposite field. That was the theme all day for Haugen, driving the ball to right and right-center field.
He tripled to right in the third and scored on McCracken’s groundout. After walking in the fourth, Haugen put the exclamation point on his game with an RBI double and run scored in a three-run sixth that put the game out of reach.
“Haugen’s hot,” Aurora Christian coach Andy Zorger said. “He’s been hot pretty much all year. It’s a huge sign when he’s locked in and driving the ball to the alley in right-center because then it shows he’s letting it get deep and seeing it real well. That’s huge.”
McCracken made it through five-plus innings before giving way to Jake Hanson, who recorded the save. McCracken (1-2) allowed three runs on six hits to earn his first win of the season, and the first win for the team by anybody other than J.T. Baksha and Bobby Kuntzendorf, who are each 5-0.
“He kept attacking the strike zone,” Zorger said. “He was able to throw his curveball for strikes to get ahead and keep them off balance a little bit, got a lot of ground balls. He’s been throwing well. He struggled with his control sometimes, but he limited the damage and kept us in it.”
Marra fell to 1-2 for Guerin with the loss.