Flames Out-Slug Northwestern, 14-6; Claim Series Win
March 9, 2012
Brian Evak threw five innings of scoreless relief, helping the UIC baseball team record a dominating 14-6 win over Northwestern at Les Miller Field Friday night. UIC defeated the Wildcats for the second-consecutive night, officially clinching the series win heading into Sunday's finale.
With the win, UIC improves to 4-8 on the season, while Northwestern dropped to 3-9.
Right fielder Jon Ryan tallied a team-high three RBI, while Alex Grunenwald, Harry Kammholz, Cody Dykema, Alex Jurich and Nick Addison each drove in two runs. The Flames scored three runs in the first inning, four in the fourth, sixth in the seventh frame and one in the eighth inning. UIC never trailed, but its six-spot in the seventh frame gave the Flames insurance after seeing Northwestern score three runs in the fourth inning to pull within 7-6.
Ryan got the Flames going in the first inning, driving in Joe Betcher, who singled and advanced to third base on a throwing error. Grunenwald then doubled to right center, scoring Ryan. Kammholz capped off the inning with a scoring single in the ensuing at-bat, as Gruenwald crossed home. Dykema grounded out to end the early rally.
Northwestern plated three runs in the top of the second to quickly tie the game (3-3). The first four batters reached, including singles by Jack Havey and Nick Linne. After Jack Livingston walked, he advanced to second base on an error by UIC starting pitcher Matt Heaslip, and both Havey and Linne scored. Livingston attempted to advance all the way to third base, but was picked off for the first out of the inning. NU's Geoff Rowan then converted a sacrifice fly, scoring Livingston to plate the Wildcats' third and final run of the inning.
The Flames responded with four more runs in the bottom of the third inning, bolstered by the first three batters all reaching base. Betcher led off the frame with a walk, followed by a single to right field by Ryan. Grunenwald then reached on a fielder's choice, putting Ryan in scoring position. Kammholz was then hit by a pitch, and Dykema followed with a one-out single to center field, scoring both Grunenwald and Ryan. Jurich then singled to right field, scoring Kammholz, and Dykema capped off the scoring after Addison's single.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the top of the fourth, after back-to-back extra base hits by Linne and Livingston. Evak replaced Heaslip with the Flames leading 7-5 and zero outs - he struck out Rowan, walked Patrick Miller and forced Cody Stevens to fly out to left field. Leadoff hitter Kyle Ruchim followed with an RBI single, but he was thrown out at second base after a fielder's choice, ending the inning, and preserving a 7-6 lead for the Flames.
UIC exploded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Ryan, Grunenwald, Kammholz, Jurich, Addison and Ryan Shober all collecting RBI. The Flames forced NU starting pitcher Francis Brooke out of the game just three batters into the inning - he was replaced by Michael Jahns, who gave up one base hit, but walked both Dykema and Jurich, lengthening the Flames' convincing rally.
The Flames added insurance in the eighth, after seeing Betcher lead off the inning with a deep triple to right center. Ryan then reached on an error in centerfield, easily scoring Betcher. Gruenenwald, pinch hitter Ryan Boss and Dykema were retired in order to end the frame.
UIC will wrap up its three-game series against Northwestern on Saturday, with first pitch from Les Miller Field scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CST. Right-hander Matt Salemi is scheduled to take the mound for the Flames, while Luke Farrell (RHP) will be Northwestern's starting pitcher.