Baseball Drops One-Run Game At Northwestern

<b>AleX De LaRosa</b> had two hits and a run scored Tuesday at Northwestern.
AleX De LaRosa had two hits and a run scored Tuesday at Northwestern.

May 10, 2011

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EVANSTON, Ill. - Despite notching 11 hits, the UIC baseball team was only able to push across two runs as it fell in a non-conference game to the Northwestern Wildcats at Rocky Miller Park, 3-2.

The Flames (22-23) collected four more hits Tuesday, but the visitors left eight men on base as they finished the regular season with a split against Northwestern (16-27).

UIC struck first on the scoreboard on Tuesday in the top of the third inning. Nick Addison singled through the right side and Alex De LaRosa followed with a line shot of his own back up the middle. Addison slid safely into the third, but Northwestern center fielder Cody Stevens made an errant throw that bounced out of play, allowing his counterpart to score and De LaRosa to move to third. Unfortunately he would remain stranded, but the Flames grabbed the 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats rallied to claim the lead for the first time Tuesday in the home half of the fifth inning. Nick Linne led off the frame with a single for Northwestern, but UIC dodged an initial bullet when catcher Geoff Rowan failed to put down a sacrifice bunt. Then, Cody Stevens singled and his brother Trevor Stevens followed with a bunt single of his own to load the bases with just one out. Next, Paul Snider delivered a chopper over the outstretched hand of reliever Tim Suminski for an RBI groundout. After Chris Lashmet was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Jack Livingston was plunked as well to give the Wildcats a brief lead.

Collin Weyer pitched well through the first four innings in the non-conference game, allowing only a pair of hits through that stretch. The freshman allowed two runs and struck out three in 4.1 innings of work, but did not factor in the final decision.

UIC tied things up at 2-2 in the top of the sixth on the heels of three straight singles from De LaRosa, Jason Ganek and Matt Serna. Serna's RBI base hit scooted underneath the glove of Trevor Stevens, allowing De LaRosa to score. After Joe Betcher sacrificed the runners up 90 feet and Jon Ryan was intentionally walked, the Flames looked to have a big inning brewing, however a nifty double play ended the stanza.

The lead tie was short-lived as Northwestern regained advantage with a single tally in the bottom of the sixth off of Suminski. Once again it was a pinch hitter, Colby Everrett, who put down a safety squeeze bunt to allow Brant Cavagnaro to score and make it 3-2, Wildcats.

The Flames attempted to mount a threat in the top of the eighth when Ganek led off with a well-placed single through the left side. Two batters later, Betcher legged out an infield single with one out, but a strikeout and a groundout squashed the rally before it could get started at Rocky Miller Park.

Northwestern looked to add on the bottom of the inning when Cavagnaro laced a base hit to left center field. The outfielder ran for second base, but Ryan made a fantastic throw into Serna at second base to cut down the runner. Following that momentum shift, the Wildcats went quietly with a pop-up to Ganek and a line drive back at reliever Chris Hoffman.

Suminski (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing one run on two hits in 2.1 innings of work. Francis Brooke (1-0) was credited with the victory after allowing one run over 5.0 innings. Kyle Ruchim moved to the mound from second base and pitched a scoreless ninth inning to collect his second save of the season.

UIC will return to conference play this weekend with a pair of Horizon League doubleheaders. The Flames will travel to Cleveland State Friday to take on the Vikings in two games beginning at 11 a.m. CT. Sunday, UIC will be back at Les Miller Field to host the Valparaiso Crusaders in a twin-bill beginning at noon. The Flames swept Cleveland State at home earlier this season, while they dropped two of three at Valpo in early April.