UW-Milwaukee Sweeps Baseball, 4-2 and 2-1|
May 17, 2003
Chicago, Ill. - It was not how it was supposed to happen, but the University of Illinois at Chicago baseball team will take it.
Despite being swept, 4-2 and 2-1 by UW-Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, the Flames claimed their second consecutive Horizon League regular-season title by virtue of Detroit's 8-2 victory over Butler in the second game of their doubleheader.
UIC wins the title over Butler by virtue of tiebreaker with their four-game sweep over Youngstown State earlier this season. Butler took three of four from the Penguins in their four-game series.
With the sweep, UW-Milwaukee improves to 25-22 overall and 13-9 in Horizon League play, while the Flames fall to 34-16 on the campaign and 14-6 in league action.
Entering Saturday's twinbill, UIC held the Horizon League leading batting average of .337.
UWM, however, put the clamps on UIC's offensive prowess as their pitching staff limited the Flames to three runs and nine hits in the doubleheader sweep.
UWM senior righthander Mikel Schaefer (7-1) picked up the complete-game victory in the opener for the Panthers, allowing just four hits and two runs.
In the nightcap, Korey Keller turned in an equally impressive effort as he held the Flames hitless for the first 3.2 innings and gave up one run on four hits in six innings of work to improve to 4-3 on the season. Ben Stanczyk pitched one inning of relief to pick up his fifth save of the season.
Stanczyk, however, had to survive some drama in order to preserve the UWM victory.
Stanczyk entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after Keller surrendered a leadoff double to junior shortstop Jordan DeVoir. Second baseman Bryan Russo flew out to center field, bringing third baseman Nelson Gord to the plate.
Gord lifted a weak pop out into short left field. The wind took control of the ball and it sailed past the outstretched arms of UWM shortstop Steve Sanfilippo to put runners on first and third with one out for the Flames.
Stanczyk issued a free pass to junior outfielder Mike Hughes, which loaded the bases for left fielder J.P. Carey. Carey sent a long fly ball to right field that looked like a walk-off grand slam. UWM right fielder Troy Doering, however, calmly gloved the ball at the fence, allowing DeVoir to score from third, cutting the Panthers' lead in half at 2-1.
UIC designated hitter Chuck Peters stepped to the dish and Stanczyk induced a weak ground ball to first base to end the game.
UIC freshman hurler John Flood took the loss for the Flames as he gave up two runs - one earned - in 4.2 innings of work, while striking out two batters to drop to 5-2 on the season.
In the first game, UIC took advantage of some early wildness from Schaefer as he issued walks to both Hughes and Carey to open the game. Peters grounded out to move both Hughes and Carey over a base.
Junior outfielder J.P. Moran stepped to the plate and promptly brought in Hughes from third with a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the host Flames the 1-0 advantage. Carey moved to third on the play.
Junior first baseman Brad Ryan drove in Carey with a high chopper that Sanfilippo was unable to handle, pushing UIC's lead to 2-0.
Sophomore left-hander Ryan Gehring (7-4) was in control for most of the game until the top of the sixth inning as UWM touched him for four runs on five hits and a walk as the Panthers' took a 4-2 lead over UIC. Stanczyk, designated hitter Matt Alexander, first baseman P.J. Cannon and second baseman Charlie Reschke each connected for consecutive RBI singles to give the Panthers the advantage.
UWM took the early lead in the nightcap as Sanfilippo roped a one-out single, moved to second on a groundout by right fielder Dave Pudlosky and scored on a single by Stanczyk to put the Panthers ahead, 1-0.
Both teams will be back in action on Sunday at noon, for the series finale.