Blending some new talent with familiar faces, Batavia's baseball team began the 2015 season Monday morning the same way it did throughout much of last season -- with a win.
Senior left-hander Evan Acosta (1-0) pitched 5 innings of 3-hit ball with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts while senior right-hander Nick Rogalski tossed a couple scoreless innings of relief during the Bulldogs' 6-2 nonconference triumph over York (0-2) at Pfund Field in Carol Stream.
The Dukes scored an unearned run in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead as Matt Sabatini reached on a 2-out infield error, advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt and came across on a clutch 2-out RBI single from Cam Fowler.
Having thrown 74 pitches through 5 innings, Acosta didn't figure to be in position for the victory until the Bulldogs staged a 4-run rally in the bottom half of the fifth.
Junior Tyler Kledzik came off the bench to smack a leadoff ground-rule double and scored the tying run on Willie Firth's RBI triple to right-center.
With 2 out and runners on second and third, senior reserve Joey Gross laced a 2-run triple to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 4-2.
Acosta, who went 3-for-3 with a double, helped his own cause with his second infield single of the game, driving in Gross to make it 5-2.
"I wanted to stay in and see how it was going to play out," said the Western Kentucky-bound Acosta. "I got myself a hit and we ended up scoring -- it was great."
Returning to his role as the team's closer, Rogalski shut the door on the Dukes with back-to-back hitless innings in the sixth and seventh.
"He's the vulture," Bulldogs coach Matt Holm said of Rogalski. "He figures he can throw three times a week if he's in that reliever role. We talked about him being a starter and then he thought, 'I'll throw once a week.'
"He's already going to North Central. He likes the role coming in (as a reliever) and he's a cool customer. It's a nice luxury to have. You save arms that way, too."
Kledzik, who entered the game in the fifth, drove in the Bulldogs' final run with his second double in as many at-bats.
"I've got to find a way to keep him in the lineup," said Holm. "He can hit the ball."
Kledzik and Gross combined for 3 extra-base hits and 3 RBI coming off the Bulldogs' bench.
"You might remember last year -- we didn't figure out our defense until we got into the St. Charles East series and then we wound up putting Micah (Coffey) over at third base," said Holm. "We've got guys that can play. We have to figure out where that's going to be."
York grabbed a 1-0 lead on Nolan Spencer's RBI triple in the third before Acosta fanned 4 of the last 8 batters he faced.
"It's early," said Acosta. "I've got some dry skin and some bleeding going on but it felt great. The guys played great."
Junior southpaw starter Cole Miller allowed a run and 2 hits with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts for the Dukes.
"Cole put us in a position to win if we can come in and shut the door," said York coach Dave Kalal. "We've got a young pitching staff -- a bunch of juniors. It's different pitching at the varsity level, especially with the competition we play. They (the Bulldogs) were a sectional team last year and won 32 games. We'll be all right."