Flames Claim Series Finale against ETSU on Sunday, 3-2

Junior Alex Jurich
Junior Alex Jurich

May 5, 2013

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CHICAGO - Redshirt junior Mike McKinley allowed just four hits and one earned run in 8.1 innings of work versus East Tennessee State (27-20) on Sunday afternoon as the UIC baseball team (21-24) triumphed in the series finale by a final score of 3-2.  The right-hander was efficient on mound, throwing 86 pitches against 34 batters and allowed no walks.  Junior Alex Jurich had an impressive day at the plate with a double and a triple to go along with his two runs.

"I thought Mike (McKinley) was outstanding today," said head coach Mike Dee.  "We keep making progress at the plate and performing the fundamentals more consistently.  East Tennessee is a great ball club and would probably be at the top of our league.  The fact that we were just a couple of at-bats shy of winning this series is pleasing.  I like the direction our team is headed in and we are setting ourselves up to be real competitive in the tournament."

Redshirt senior Alex Grunenwald also had a solid day at the dish, hitting 2-for-2 with two RBI as did senior Joe Betcher who went 2-for-3 with a run.  Senior Joey Begel came in to pitch for McKinley and recorded the games' final two outs to notch his first save of the season.

The Buccaneers struck first with a lone run in the top of the fourth inning, but UIC quickly countered with two scores in the bottom half of the frame.  Betcher began the surge with a two-out single to right field and was followed up by a double to right center from Jurich.  Betcher advanced to third on the play and was able to score after the right fielder committed an error when fielding the ball.  Grunenwald then ripped a double to left center which plated Jurich, giving UIC the 2-1 edge.

Jurich kicked off the seventh inning with a leadoff triple to left center and was driven home off a sac fly from Grunenwald who flied out to deep center field.

With the Flames in front 3-1 in the top of the ninth, ETSU tallied back-to-back singles two place runners on first and second.  UIC's McKinley forced a groundout on the next at-bat, but each runner moved up a bag.  That's when the switch was made to Begel for the final two outs, but not before the Bucs were able to plate Daniel Tucker off a sac fly from Chris Riopedre.

The Flames will host Northwestern on Tuesday with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. CT.