Flames Conclude Season in 5-4 Heartbreaker Against WSU

Joe Betcher went 7-for-10 in the HL Tournament.
Joe Betcher went 7-for-10 in the HL Tournament.

May 24, 2013

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NILES, Ohio - The UIC baseball team (27-28) battled to the very end against Wright State (24-29) on Friday night in game five of the 2013 Horizon League Tournament, suffering elimination with a 5-4 defeat and concluding their season.  After scoring a run in the ninth with the tying run on second base and two outs, WSU pitcher Travis Hissong forced a groundout to end UIC's rally.  The score was deadlocked 3-3 after six innings, but the Raiders plated lone runs in the eighth and ninth.

"Our energy all weekend was outstanding and we kept competing," said head coach Mike Dee.  "It's tough when you lose a pair of one-run ball games, but that's baseball.  I'm really proud of our guys and how they improved over the year.  Our seniors did a tremendous job leading and I have no complaints about the effort given in this tournament."

The Raiders jumped in front 2-0 in the top of the first as they tallied three hits in the opening frame.  UIC countered with a solo score in the bottom of the first as senior Ryan Boss drove in Zenon Kolakowski with an RBI-single up the middle.

The score remained 2-1 until the Flames notched a pair of runs in the fourth inning.  Senior Alex Grunenwald kicked things off with a single down the left field line and was advanced to second on a single by senior Joe Betcher.  Senior Ryan Shober moved both runners up a bag with a sacrifice bunt, which set the stage for junior John Coen.  The shortstop then blasted his second triple of the season, sending both Grunenwald and Betcher across the dish and giving UIC a 3-2 edge.

WSU knotted the score at 3-3 in the top half of the sixth as speedster Sam Picchiotti beat the tag at the plate after a drop-third-strike throw to first was rifled back home.

The Raiders tacked on two more runs before the bottom of the ninth and held a 5-3 advantage.  UIC began the frame with a lead-off single by Coen and had runners on first and second after a Kolakowski walk.  WSU recorded two quick outs as Hissong struck out consecutive UIC batters.  De LaRosa kept the Flames alive with a single to left field that scored Coen, which also proved to be the final run of the night.

Betcher finished the tournament with a .700 batting average to pace the team as Grunenwald and De LaRosa hit for .417 apiece.  Boss and Alex Jurich also had identical average of .357, while Shober fronted the Flames with five RBI.