Flames Kick Off Horizon League Championship with 10-1 Win over Butler

Junior Alex Grunenwald
Junior Alex Grunenwald

May 23, 2012

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CHICAGO – The fourth-seeded UIC baseball team opened up the 2012 Horizon League Championship with a 10-1 win over No. 5 seed Butler on Wednesday afternoon at Les Miller Field.  The Flames jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.  Junior pitcher Joey Begel tossed an impressive seven innings of shut-out ball, allowing just four hits as he picked up his seventh win of the season.

“We played as well as we can play in all facets today,” said head coach Mike Dee.  “We need to come out with the same level of intensity, focus and execution tomorrow.”

Junior Alex Grunenwald piloted the Flames at the plate by going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, including a solo homer to left field in the seventh frame.  Joe Betcher and John Coen also tallied multiple hits with two apiece as Betcher notched three RBI.

Jacob McNamara began the contest by reaching first base on an error by the Butler shortstop and was advanced over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alex De LaRosa.  Betcher then drove in McNamara with a double down the left field line and was eventually plated by Grunenwald who tapped an infield single.  Betcher moved over to third on a passed ball and was sent home off a single to left field by Jon RyanAlex Lee pushed Ryan over to second with a one-bagger to center and both runners were then driven in by redshirt junior Nick Addison.

The Flames added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as Coen kicked off the surge by sending a single to right field.  Coen then stole second and McNamara joined him on base with a walk.  De LaRosa then cracked a double down the right field line to score Coen and send McNamara to third.  Betcher sent both runners across the dish with a triple to right center and was eventually plated by Grunewald to give UIC a commanding 9-0 lead.

Grunenwald’s homer in the seventh proved to be the final score of the game as UIC held on for the nine-run victory.

The Flames advance to play either No. 1 Valparaiso at 8 p.m. or No. 2 Wright State at 3 p.m. on Thursday, depending on the results of the No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 6 Youngstown State contest.  If Milwaukee wins then UIC will play the Crusaders, but if Youngstown State wins then the Flames will square off against the Raiders.