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Sandburg, Black Hawk Split 1st Set of Conference-Deciding Baseball Series

MOLINE — The Carl Sandburg College baseball team ended Saturday where it started: tied with Black Hawk for the Arrowhead Conference lead.

The Chargers and Braves split a doubleheader — with Black Hawk taking Game 1 10-5 and Sandburg Game 2 12-6 — leaving the Arrowhead championship to be decided at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Sandburg in another twinbill between the teams.

Another split would mean the Chargers (23-9, 16-2) and Braves (16-2 Arrowhead) share the conference title. A sweep for either team would give it to them outright. Sandburg is in search of its first Arrowhead championship since 2008 and sixth overall.

GAME 1
Black Hawk 10, Sandburg 5

Sandburg 220 000 1 — 5 9 1
Black Hawk 152 011 x — 10 7 1
L: Travis Ausbury 2.1 IP, 3 K, BB

Key Moment

The Chargers led 4-1 after scoring two runs in each of the first two innings, but the Braves used a five-run bottom of the second, punctuated by a Jake Conley grand slam, to take the lead for good.

Sandburg Star of the Game
Freshman shortstop Braedon Blackford (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) doubled, walked, scored a run and drove in two out of the leadoff spot.

GAME 2
Sandburg 12, Black Hawk 6

Sandburg 301 111 5 — 12 14 2
Black Hawk 003 010 2 — 6 5 4
W: Bryce Meyer (4-1) 5 IP, 7 K, 6 BB

SV: Nolan Struhs (1) 2 IP, 2 K, 1 BB

Key Moments

  • The Chargers struck early, getting a three-run home run in the first from Cacey O’Brien (Moline, Ill./Moline) and a solo shot in the third from Payton Hartbank (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon) for a 4-0 lead.
  • Black Hawk scored three in the third to make it 4-3, but Sandburg added single tallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth before busting it open with a five-run seventh. The big inning featured five of the Chargers’ 14 hits in the contest.

Sandburg Star of the Game
In addition to his three-run homer, O’Brien tied for the team lead with three hits in five at-bats and scored twice. He pushed his season slash line to .511/.627/.852, and in conference play, he’s hitting .521/.642/1.042.

Top Chargers Hitters

  • O’Brien 3 for 5, home run, two runs, three RBIs
  • Austin Traub (Coal Valley, Ill./Moline) 3 for 4, run, two RBIs, stolen base
  • Black Russell (Joy, Ill./Mercer County) 2 for 2, double, two runs, two RBIs
  • Hartbank 2 for 5, home run, two runs
  • Kevin Ulrich (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson) 2 for 4, two runs
  • Blackford 0 for 1, two runs, four walks

Up Next

Sandburg travels to Rock Valley at 1 p.m. Sunday for a nonconference doubleheader before the conference championship-deciding doubleheader against Black Hawk at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the William “Bill” Hungate Baseball/Softball Complex.

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