Flames Outslug Raiders 19-9 in Game Four of HL Championship
May 24, 2012
CHICAGO – The fourth-seeded UIC baseball team moved past No. 2 seed Wright State on Thursday evening by a final score of 19-9 in game four the 2012 Horizon League Championship at Les Miller Field. Junior pitcher Charlie Weinberg proved to be the difference maker as threw five innings of relief, allowing just two hits and no earned runs for this third win of the season. Junior Alex Grunenwald piloted the Flames at the plate going 4-for-5 with two homers, five RBI and four runs. UIC will now play in Friday night’s 8 p.m. contest against the winner of game five between No. 1 seed Valparaiso and No. 6 seed Youngstown State.
“To hold Wright State scoreless in five of the nine innings is really impressive,” said head coach Mike Dee. “They are a great club and we competed on every pitched today so I’m really proud of our guys. Weinberg has a partially torn ligament, so for him to go out there and solidify the game for us when it was in balance was really courageous on his part.”
It was a slugfest from the start as both squads combined for 20 runs and 21 hits in the first three innings. The Flames ended up with a season-high 19 runs and 23 hits with seven UIC players recording multiple knocks. Grunenwald and Alex De LaRosa led the Flames with four hits apiece as Joe Betcher, Jon Ryan and Alex Jurich each posted three slaps and one home run.
The Raiders struck the initial blow in the bottom of the first inning with two scores from Cory Davis and Horizon League Player of the Year Tristan Moore.
The Flames countered with four runs in the top of the second inning as Ryan’s bomb led the scoring surge, sending home Grunenwald who reached on a walk. Jurich would eventually add his solo shot to left center for the third score and then John Coen plated Nick Addison on a sacrifice fly to left field.
UIC came right back in the top of the third inning with its highest scoring frame of the 2012 season as they drove an impressive nine runs on nine hits. Thirteen Flames hitters recorded at-bats in the third stanza with three doubles and a triple to boast, giving themselves a 13-2 edge.
Wright State didn’t buckle after the nine-run melt down as they put five runs in the bottom half of the third inning, chopping UIC’s lead down to 13-7. Weinberg replaced starter Brian Evak for the final out of the inning.
The Flames inflated their lead to 16-7 over the next two frames with Lee scoring in the fourth off a groundout from Coen and Grunenwald blasting a two-run shot in the fifth, his first of the game.
The Raiders picked up a lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning and trailed the Flames 16-8, heading into the last three frames.
UIC posted one run in each of the last three innings, including a deep solo shot by Grunenwald that actually hit UIC’s Physical Education Building, which sits roughly seventy feet beyond the left field wall.
The Raiders added one final score in the bottom of the ninth off a solo homer from Davis.
Friday night’s contest between either No. 1 seed Valpo or No. 6 seed YSU will air live on the Horizon League Network along with all the other championship games.