Baseball Takes #2 Vanderbilt into Extra Innings

Senior Joey Begel
Senior Joey Begel

March 3, 2013

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The UIC baseball team (3-6) forced #2 Vanderbilt (12-1) into extra innings, but a Commodores’ walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th cemented a 3-1 series finale loss for the Flames.  Senior Joey Begel had an impressive outing as he held the Dores to a mere three hits and one run over 7.1 innings.  Begel struck out a career-high six batters and gave up just one walk.  The Flames kept Vanderbilt off balance, limiting the Dores to just five hits and three runs, both season lows.

“We did everything we were supposed to do but win,” said head coach Mike Dee.  “Our pitching was outstanding, we did a great job at the plate and our defense continues to play really well.  There are certainly a lot more positives than negatives coming out of the weekend.”

The Flames equaled Vanderbilt’s six runs over the last 18 innings of the series and held the Dores scoreless in 17 total frames over the weekend.  UIC also restricted Vandy to a batting average of .241 and didn’t allow a single stolen base as the Dores had already amassed 39 bags in 10 games.  UIC has now played six nationally-ranked opponents in its first nine games of the season.

The Flames tallied the first run of the afternoon in the eighth inning as Alex Grunenwald smacked a single to left field to start things off.  He was then advanced to second off a sac bunt by Alex Jurich and made his way to third compliments of a wild pitch.  The next batter, Joe Betcher, reached on a throwing error by the VU shortstop and Grunenwald was able to cross home plate.

The Commodores answered with a lone run in the bottom of the eighth and neither team scored in the ninth, which sent the contest into extra innings.

In the tenth, Grunenwald again was able to reach third base off of two hit batsmen and a fly out to right field by Harry Kammholz.  VU’s Brian Miller came up big with a strike out against Betcher to eventually retire the Flames. 

The bottom half of the 10th is where VU freshman Rhett Wiseman became the hero with his walk-off blast to right field.  The bomb was his first career homer and RBI.

UIC will begin home play on Tuesday with a mid-week game against Lakeland College and also host reigning Big Ten-champ Purdue in a three-game series starting on Friday.

“We’re excited about starting up home play and I think March could be a big month for us,” added Dee.