Baseball: Cooney's no-hitter highlights win over Auburn

Senior Colton O'Rorke reached base three times and totaled three RBIs during the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team's win over Auburn on Friday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

O'Rorke notches three RBIs as Hubs score 10-0 victory

ROCHELLE — A simple approach on the mound allowed senior Bradley Cooney to toss a no-hitter over five innings on Friday afternoon, when the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team attempted to snap a two-game losing streak with a nonconference matchup against Auburn.

Trusting his defense and focusing solely on throwing strikes, Cooney struck out nine batters and walked only two as the Hubs cruised over Auburn 10-0 in five innings to score their first win of the season. Rochelle (1-2, 0-0 Interstate 8) will face Belvidere North on the road Tuesday.

“It always feels great to get our first win,” Cooney said. “We’re getting back into a rhythm and we’re happy to get that first win out of the way. I’ve learned over our first few games that if we throw strikes and play good defense, we’ll have a good chance to win. I was just trying to get the ball across the plate and see whether or not they could hit it and they weren’t able to hit it.”

The Hubs took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, where senior Colton O’Rorke slapped an RBI single to bring Rochelle’s first run home. Sophomore Brandyn Metzger and junior Brock Metzger followed with consecutive RBI singles of their own, allowing two more runners to score. O’Rorke reached base three times and totaled three RBIs in the victory.

“I struggled over my first two games, but it felt good to have two hits and it was exciting to see [Bradley] Cooney throw a no-hitter,” O’Rorke said. “I was working one pitch at a time and trying to take things slower since I had been struggling. My main focus was just getting on base.”

Rochelle tallied three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to surge ahead 6-0. Senior Aidan Rodriguez drew a lead-off walk and scored on O’Rorke’s second RBI single of the game. Senior Noah Lara delivered a clutch at-bat for the Hubs later in the frame, belting a two-run double to left that brought O’Rorke and Brandyn Metzger home. Lara went 2-for-4 in the win.

“We have a lot of potential as a team,” O’Rorke said. “We want to win the conference and I think we can win a regional. We have a lot of speed and I think we’ll be able to steal a lot of bases. We’re a good defensive team too and we have good gloves all around the field.”

The Hubs clinched their win with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior Garrett Gensler and freshman Brode Metzger each singled, while Rodriguez reached on a hit-by-pitch to help Rochelle load the bases. O’Rorke drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Gensler and make the score 7-0 before Rodriguez scored on an error soon after. Metzger scored on a passed ball and O’Rorke scored the final run of the game after senior Alex Burnette reached on an error.