Flames Claim Victory in Game One over Butler, 5-2

Senior pitcher Chris Hoffman
Senior pitcher Chris Hoffman

May 17, 2012

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CHICAGO – Junior pitcher Joey Begel allowed a mere four hits and one run in eight innings of work as the UIC baseball team (18-31, 11-16) triumphed over Butler (21-31, 9-19) on Thursday night, 5-2 at Les Miller Field.  The right-hander held the Bulldogs scoreless through five frames, picking up his sixth win of the year and the 11th on his career. 

With the victory, UIC clinches the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament which will be held at Les Miller Field, beginning on May 23.

At the plate, the Flames were led by sophomore John Coen as he went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run.  Junior Alex De LaRosa also managed two RBI as he hit 1-for-3.  Redshirt junior Nick Addison racked up his 14th stolen base of the season which gives him the highest total of any Horizon League player this year.

Thursday’s win also extended UIC’s winning streak to 16 games when facing Butler at Les Miller Field and gives the Flames 18 victories in the last 19 meetings between the two schools.

After two scoreless innings, UIC tacked on the game’s first pair of runs in the third frame.  Addison began the surge by reaching first base on an error by the Butler second baseman, but was eventually throw out at second following a fielder’s choice by Alex Lee.  Coen slapped a single up the middle that sent Lee to second base, but was then driven home by Jacob McNamara on a single to left field.  After Coen and McNamara reached second and third following a wild pitch, De LaRosa plated Coen on a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Flames added another score in the bottom of the fifth inning off an RBI groundout from Coen that sent Lee across the dish from third.  Lee reached on a double to right center and eventually stole third base.

Butler scored its first run in the top of the sixth frame after a solo homer by Jimmy Risi that hugged the left field foul line on its way out of the yard.

UIC put up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning as Addison led off with an infield bunt single.  He then stole second base, remaining a perfect 14-for-14 on the year.  Coen eventually drove Addison in with a single to right field.  Coen then moved over to second as the next batter, McNamara, was walked.  De LaRosa picked up the Flames’ final RBI of the game on a one-bagger up the middle that scored Coen, giving UIC a commanding 5-1 edge.

The Bulldogs made things interesting in the top of the ninth frame as Butler had the bases loaded with no outs.  It was at that point when senior pitcher Chris Hoffman relieved Tim Suminski, and recorded the inning’s first out on three-straight fast balls.  Butler would score one run off an ensuing passed ball, but Hoffman preserved the save as he popped up the second out and ended the game on a strike out.  Hoffman captured his third save of the season, which leads all UIC pitchers.

Friday night’s contest, the second of a three-game set, will begin at 6 p.m. CT with Brian Evak set to tote the rubber for the Flames.