Honzik Stops High-Powered Concordia-Chicago as St. Norbert Wins First NCAA Game

From Sports Information Director, May 17, 2012 | Baseball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

WHITEWATER - St. Norbert College junior right-hander Josh Honzik held the nation's second-best offense in check with a complete-game shutout to lead the Green Knights to a 5-0 win over Concordia University Chicago in an elimination game of the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional at UW-Whitewater's Prucha Field.

The Green Knights (27-12) won their first-ever NCAA post-season game and set a school record for wins in the process. Concordia (33-14) entered the game second nationally in scoring (8.9 runs per game) and batting average (.356) but couldn't solve Honzik.

Honzik scattered nine hits, and the Cougars left six of their 11 total runners on base in the first three innings. Honzik walked three and struck out one, and threw 71 strikes in 120 pitches to shut down Concordia.

St. Norbert got all the runs it would need with a four-run uprising in the bottom of the second inning. Garrick Fisher opened the frame with a single and Chris Hillesheim walked. Chad Ljunggren legged out a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Fisher scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead and Alex Larsen walked to again load the bases. Chris Laux then hit a drive to the left-center field gap that bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double and a 3-0 lead. Troy Rottier then drove in Larsen on a ground out.

The Green Knights added a single run in the fifth. Matt Hannon doubled to left and advanced to third on a balk. Travis Mason then singled down the right-field line for the game's final run.

Honzik was in command the rest of the way, allowing five hits after that point but stranded all of the Concordia baserunners to improve to 7-2 on the season.

Mason was 2-fof-4 to lead St. Norbert, which had eight hits. Hannon, Hillesheim, Laux and Rottier all hit doubles.

St. Norbert will face the loser of tonight's College of St. Scholastica-Aurora University game at 1 p.m. Friday in an elimination game.