Baseball Falls 6-3 To UW-Milwaukee In Horizon League Championship
May 26, 2002
Cleveland, Ohio - UW-Milwaukee's John Vanden Berg and tournament MVP Dave Pudlosky hit a combined five-for-eight along with four RBI to help UW-Milwaukee to the 6-3 victory over the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Horizon League Championship at Jacobs Field on Sunday afternoon.
UW-Milwaukee successfully defends its Horizon League Tournament title and advances to the NCAA Regionals for the third time in the last four years. UIC finishes its season with a school-record, 39 wins and finished the campaign at 39-16.
UW-Milwaukee junior Geoff Lefeber scattered 11-hits and struck out two batters to earn the complete-game victory for the Panthers and improves to 6-0 on the campaign. UIC junior Eric Xidis (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) took the loss and drops to 6-5 on the season.
UIC mounted a late rally in the bottom of the ninth inning as sophomore Mike Bruszer (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) reached base on a fielders' choice with two outs and advanced to third on a double by sophomore left fielder Mike Hughes (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd).
Lefeber then faced junior right fielder Curtis Granderson (Lynwood, Ill./T.F. South), the Horizon League Player of the Year and the tying run, and struck him out to preserve the victory.
After retiring the first nine batters that he faced, Xidis found some trouble in the top of the fourth inning as UW-Milwaukee connected for four consecutive two-out hits to take a 4-0 lead over the Flames. Freshman right fielder Charlie Reschke provided the big blow for the Panthers with a two-out, two-run double to left-center field.
UW-Milwaukee added another pair of runs in the next frame as Vanden Berg and Pudlosky each recorded RBI singles off UIC reliever David Haehnel (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) to extend the Panthers lead to 6-0. Vanden Berg and Pudlosky hit a combined 18-for-30 during the tournament. Pudlosky finished the weekend with a tournament-record batting average of .714.
There were a few highlights for UIC on Sunday afternoon as Granderson and senior John Rosner (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette) each recorded milestones against the Panthers.
Granderson connected for his 100th hit of the season with a single to open the bottom of the sixth inning. Rosner broke the school-record for hits in a career with 225 with a single to left field that advanced Granderson to third. Rosner took second on a fielding error by UWM left fielder David Michna.
The Flames finally got on the board as sophomore Chris Kerpan (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) plated Granderson with a RBI single and Rosner scored on a sacrifice fly by junior designated hitter Chuck Peters (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) that cut UW-Milwaukee's lead to 6-2.
Peters picked up his second RBI of the day as he roped a two-out double over Reschke's head that plated Rosner from second and narrowed UW-Milwaukee's lead to 6-3.
Following the game, Granderson and freshman Ryan Gehring (Burlington, Wis./Central Catholic) were both named to the Horizon League All-Tournament team.