Flames Take Two on Saturday for Series Win Against Valpo
March 22, 2014
CHICAGO – The UIC baseball team (6-12, 2-4) capture the series win against Horizon League opponent Valparaiso (9-9, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon, claiming both games of the doubleheader by final scores of 5-4 and 6-3. The Flames led from wire-to-wire in game two, but needed a two runs in the eighth inning of game one to permanently jump in front of the Crusaders. Senior John Coen hit 5-for-9 on the day, including a 4-for-5 effort in the series finale.
“We had a tough week and I am really proud of our guys for sticking with it,” said UIC Head Coach Mike Dee. “I thought we came out today and executed better, played better defense and didn’t give them as many opportunities as yesterday. These two wins today were really important for us.”
Freshman Mitchell Schulewitz was credited with the win in game one, while junior Alex Posey picked up the save. Starter Ian Lewandowski lasted 6.1 frames and gave up just three earned runs. In game two, redshirt sophomore Joe Perricone earned his first win of the season as starter Jack Andersen lasted 4.1 innings and allowed a mere four hits and two runs.
“Our pitchers are becoming more comfortable and more relaxed,” said Dee. “That’s real easy to say to someone, but it’s completely different to actually go out there and do it. I thought we handled pressure really well and I think we took a step forward today.”
The Flames lit up the scoreboard first with a lone run in the bottom of the first inning after junior Tyler Detmer recorded an RBI-single up the middle to plate senior Jacob McNamara. Valpo answered one score in the second to knot the tally at 1-1.
UIC took back the advantage with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning as redshirt junior Alex Lee kicked things off with a single up the middle. Senior Alex Jurich pushed Lee over to second on a groundout and then Coen sent him across the dish on a one-baser to right field. Later in the inning, McNamara plated Coen off an RBI-single to center field. McNamara went 3-for-3 in the contest two RBI and one run.
With UIC in front by a margin of 3-1, Valpo knotted the score at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the third. The 3-3 tie held firm until the seventh inning when the Crusaders scored a lone run to take a 4-3 edge.
UIC’s eighth inning comeback began with a fly out and then a walk from Jurich. After Coen was retired on an infield popup, freshman Cody Bohanek singled to shortstop and moved Jurich over to second. Valpo then changed pitchers from starter Dalton Lundeen to Ben Mahar. With Mahar now on the mound, McNamara drove in Jurich with a screamer to left field, advancing Bohanek to second. Redshirt Conor Philbin then pushed Bohanek across the plate with his first of three RBI on the afternoon, giving UIC the 5-4 win.
The series finale was UIC’s from the very start as the Flames plated three runs in the opening frame. Coen posted the game’s first hit with a double to center field, his second of the season. Detmer followed with an RBI-single and now leads the Flames with 17 RBI on the year. Philbin also doubled later in the frame that sent Detmer home and then Lee plated Philbin off a single to center.
UIC held the 3-0 advantage until the fifth inning when Valpo ripped off two scores after the Flames gave up two hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The Flames retaliated with a set of runs in the bottom of the fifth stanza and then their final score of the game in the sixth. Valpo was able to tack on one more run in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Flames.
UIC will be back in action on Tuesday as they travel to Notre Dame for non-league game scheduled to begin at 4:35 p.m. CT.