Baseball: Nazareth blasts four homers in win over Benet

Roadrunners improve to 22-0

David Cox (right) celebrates with Nazareth Academy teammates after his two run home run in the first inning of a game against Benet on April 22, 2024 at Benet Academy in Lisle.

LISLE – Nazareth senior right-hander David Cox casts an imposing presence on the mound.

His teammate Jaden Fauske is an intimidating player.

Senior Cooper Malamazian, an Indiana recruit, is putting his name among the best shortstops to play in Nazareth program history, coach Lee Milano said.

As a team, the Roadrunners are a powerful, strong and menacing group of next-level baseball players.

Benet coach Scott Lawler, a former assistant coach at Notre Dame, has a deep background in the sport.

Even Lawler came away amazed by Nazareth’s undefeated team after the Roadrunners’ 8-1 victory Monday in East Suburban Catholic Conference play.

Cox (3-0) tossed six innings of two-hit ball and struck out eight.

Fauske drilled two home runs and finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs.

Malamazian was near flawless on the tough field.

The Roadrunners (22-0, 7-0) smacked four home runs.

Nazareth's Nick Drtina (9) tries to dodge the tag of Benet's Cole Reifsteck. Drtina was able to stay in the rundown long enough for his teammate to score from third base before the final out of the inning during a game against Benet on April 22, 2024 at Benet Academy in Lisle.

“Their lineup was fun to watch today,” Lawler said. “I’ll give them credit. That might be one of the best offensive lineups I’ve seen since I coached college baseball. I’m being serious. I’ll tip my cap. I know a bunch of those guys are going to the next level and they look like it. They got their pitches and did some damage with them.”

Fauske, a Louisville recruit, closed out the hitting show with a towering three-run home run in the top of the seventh over the right-field fence. The left-hander drilled a 425-foot shot that sailed over Benet’s team bus, causing the crowd to gasp in awe over the moon shot.

Before the game, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Fauske said he had yet to hit a home run. He doubled his pleasure Monday.

“That second one felt good,” Fauske said. “I finally got one today. I was seeing the ball good. I feel at the first part of the year I was trying to do too much, maybe try and do that every pitch. Now I’m just not trying to do too much and just being myself.”

The Roadrunners have dominated all but one opponent, notching a hard-fought 5-4 win over Ridgewood on a cold March 18.

The 6-3, 210-pound Cox, an Illinois-Chicago recruit, said he felt comfortable on the mound. He helped his own cause with a hit, two walks and two RBIs. Landon Thome drilled a solo home run and Luca Fiore added two hits and scored two runs.

“I felt absolutely amazing,” Cox said. “I trusted my defense and they made every play. Yesterday we took a bunch of ground balls so that was very helpful for us. It was a good feeling to get that win.”

The Redwings (10-5-2, 4-1) were led by Ryan Cibulka and Marc Iozzo, who both had one hit in the loss. Gino Zagorac suffered the loss.

The Roadrunners scored two runs in the first, two in the third, one in the fourth and three in the seventh.

Milano said his team is laser-focused on capturing a third consecutive state championship.

“We hit the ball well today, hit four home runs and David did a great job on the mound,” Milano said. “We’re hitting the ball well and are a veteran group. We have six committed Division I players in the lineup, with probably two more in the lineup. It’s a unique group. They are talented, but also great kids and work really hard. They’re not satisfied with winning back-to-back state titles.”

Bob Narang

Bob Narang is a contributing sports reporter to Shaw Local News Network