Unheralded Woodstock reminded once-beaten Jacobs of baseball's humbling nature Tuesday.
The Golden Eagles entered the Fox Valley Conference crossover winners of 10 of 11 games to open the season, but they could not solve Blue Streaks right-hander Andy Buhrow. The senior limited predominantly right-handed Jacobs to 3 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits in 6 innings of Woodstock's 7-3 victory in Algonquin.
"It's a big win. It's a big turning point for our season," said Buhrow, who issued only 1 walk and struck out 5 to improve to 2-1. "Our offense really came alive for us."
Woodstock (3-3, 2-3) knotted the score 2-2 in the second inning when junior Ben Haulotte fouled off 3 pitches with a 1-2 count before he notched a 2-run single.
The Blue Streaks then grabbed the lead with a 3-run third inning, keyed by sophomore Eric Bell's 2-run triple to the left-field corner. They added 2 insurance runs in the fourth on a two-out, 2-run single from sophomore Austin Butts.
Jacobs starting pitcher Tim Hubner (1-1) was charged with all 7 runs (6 earned) on 5 hits. He issued 1 walk and struck out 4 in 32⁄3 innings.
"They came prepared and we didn't," Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. "I take full responsibility for that. As a head coach it's my job to make sure they're prepared. It doesn't matter what team you're playing, you have to come out mentally prepared to play every day because baseball is a long season.
"We have some guys banged up and some guys struggling at the plate a little bit, but we have to come back and find our groove again. We will. We'll get back to what we do well: working together, pitching and playing good defense."
Jacobs sophomore Ryan Sargent relieved Hubner with two outs in the fourth inning and two runners on base. He was greeted rudely by Butts' 2-run single, but Sargent quickly settled in and retired the final 10 hitters he faced.
However, Jacobs (10-2, 3-1) mustered only 1 more run on Matt Hickey's fourth-inning single, which scored Jordan Siegel. Buhrow did not allow a Jacobs leadoff hitter to reach base, nor did closer Jake Ellegood. He retired the side in order in the seventh inning, three days after he closed out a 2-1 victory over Dundee-Crown.
Jacobs jumped to a 2-0 first-inning lead with some help. Woodstock committed consecutive errors on what could have been inning-ending double play groundballs, allowing a run to score. Joe Rizzuto then made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly that drove in Ben Murray. Other than Hickey's RBI single in the fourth, that was it for Jacobs offensively.
The thoroughness of Woodstock's victory surprised both sides to a degree.
"Let's be honest: nobody expects us to do anything outside of our coaching staff," Woodstock coach John Oliveira said, "but maybe these guys will start to buy into it a little bit now. There's a high expectation level the coaching staff has with these guys. Hopefully, they realized they can do some things."
Jacobs will try to regain its winning form in a FVC crossover at Woodstock North on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., weather permitting.
"We weren't exactly prepared," Rizzuto said of Tuesday's outing. "We kind of lost our focus. We just have to keep hitting. We just have to keep working and stay focused on our goals."