CIC Tournament Second Round: Service 7, West 1
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 24, 2023
With one swing of the bat, Coen Niclai made history in more ways than one as his grand slam and five RBIs powered the Cougars in a CIC Tournament second round win at Mulcahy Stadium.
The Service junior catcher finished 2-for-3 with a walk, RBI single and home run to help him tie his own tournament record with five RBIs. He also had five RBIs against East in 2021.
Niclai annihilated the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning, launching a laser over the left-field wall with a no-doubt bomb that made it 7-1.
The grand slam pushed Niclai's CIC-leading RBI count to 27 in 15 games to break the Service school record, surpassing Tyler Hasbrouck's previous record of 25 set in 12 games in 1998.
Niclai's second home run of the season put the finishing touches on a solid win for Service, which advanced to the semifinals of the third annual CIC Tournament for the first time.
Owen Hickman struck out seven batters and retired 12 of the first 13 as he carried a shutout into the fifth inning. He also reached base three times with the bat and scored a pair of runs.
He singled and scored on Niclai's single in the first inning to help Service (14-3) take an early lead. The Cougars made it 2-0 in the fourth inning when Sebastian Fournier singled, stole second and scored on Landon Martindale's two-out base knock.
West (7-10) clawed to within 2-1 on Paul Dittrich's two-out RBI single in the fifth inning. Orion Halliburton singled, went to second base on Beckett Stolp's sac bunt and scored thanks to some two-out magic.
West third baseman Jude Doniere ended the first inning after he turned an unassisted double play, his second in as many as days.
Service turned a 4-6-3 twin killing in the third inning.
West starter Michael Tillman held Service to one run over the first three innings after four runners were stranded in scoring position. Sam Zieserl tripled and Dittrich had two of his team's four hits.
Jake Rafferty's sac fly gave Service a 3-1 lead. Hunter Christian walked twice and scored twice. He also pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, getting out of the sixth inning thanks to a rundown that was sparked by shortstop Rilen Niclai's relay throw home that saved a run. JV callup Nick Armstrong closed it out with a pop up.
Third-seeded Service will face No. 2 seed South (14-2) on Thursday night at 5 o'clock. The teams split their two previous meetings this season as the Cougars became just the second team to beat the Wolverines since 2019.