Baseball Drops Series Finale at Valparaiso on Sunday, 8-2

Junior Alex Grunenwald
Junior Alex Grunenwald

May 13, 2012

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VALPARAISO, Ind. – The UIC baseball team tried to dig itself out of a first-inning five-run hole, but Valparaiso held strong with solid pitching from their starter Kyle Wormington to preserve the 8-2 victory.  After the Flames spotted Valpo five scores, freshman hurler Tomas Michelson entered the contest and staved off the Crusaders’ offensive surge, yielding just four hits and three runs in seven innings of work.  With the loss, UIC drops to 17-31 overall and 10-16 in the conference which places them in fourth place heading into the final week of regular season play.

“I am really proud of the way our guys battled all day after the bad start,” said head coach Mike Dee.  “Tomas was outstanding on the mound in relief and I actually thought we had a lot of great at-bats.”

Alex Grunenwald and Alex Lee piloted the Flames at the plate by hitting 2-for-4, with Grunenwald and Joe Betcher claiming the lone two RBI for UIC.

UIC starter Tim Tarter struggled to find his rhythm as the Crusaders posted six hits and five runs in the first two outs in the bottom half of the first frame.  Valpo tacked on another score in the second inning and held an early 6-0 lead over the Flames.

After three scoreless frames, UIC posted its first and only two runs of the game in the sixth inning.  John Coen began the production with a single to left field and was followed by Jacob McNamara with a single down left field line.  Betcher eventually sent Coen home on a single to center field that advanced McNarama over to second base.  Jon Ryan then reached on fielder’s choice that had Betcher out at second, but moved McNamara to third.  Grunenwald then slapped a single to left field, allowing McNamara to trot hame safely and chopping Valpo’s lead down to 6-2.

The Crusaders had the last laugh with two runs in the eighth inning to seal the six-run win.  Valpo limited UIC to just one hit after the sixth frame due in large part to Wormington and Jarad Miller.  Wormington ended his day after 7.2 innings and allowed just six hits and two runs, whle fanning seven Flames batters.

UIC returns to action on Thursday as they host Butler for the final series of the 2012 regular season.  The Flames will also host the Horizon League tournament at Les Miller field, beginning on Wednesday, May 23.