Youngstown State Holds Off Baseball, 5-4, In Horizon League Tournament
May 29, 2004
Niles, Ohio - The opportunities presented themselves to the University of Illinois at Chicago baseball team on numerous occasions in their Horizon League Tournament showdown against #7 Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately for UIC, they were unable to capitalize on them as the Flames stranded 16 runners, including leaving the bases loaded twice, as the Penguins continued their Cinderella run to the Horizon League Tournament championship with the 5-4 victory at Eastwood Field.
With the victory, Youngstown State improves to 21-30 and advances to the Horizon League Tournament finals on Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. (CST), while the Flames fall to 35-20 and will take on Cleveland State at 3:30 p.m. (CST) later today.
Youngstown State, also missed out on some opportunities, but succeeded in the top of the ninth as senior catcher Adam Cox (1-for-4, 2 RBI) broke a 4-all tie with a bases-loaded, sacrifice fly to push across Charles Schultz (1-for-5, 2 runs) for the winning run.
Youngstown State left 12 runners on base, combining with the Flames, for 28 total runners stranded, tying the tournament record.
Youngstown State starting pitcher Chris Dennis was effectively ineffective as the junior southpaw tied a tournament record with 11 walks, while surrendering only two hits in five innings of work. Dennis tied the record previously set by Xavier's Steve Horne in 1990.
YSU reliever Andy Svitak (4-3) earned the victory for the Penguins, surrendering one run and two hits in three innings of work. UIC reliever David Haehnel (6-3) was tagged with the loss, giving up one unearned run and no hits in the ninth inning.
UIC was chasing YSU all afternoon, as the Penguins scored three runs in the first inning, on three, two-out RBI singles by Cox, Justin Banks and Brian Boone.
The Flames finally caught the Penguins in the eighth, tying the game at four on a RBI single by junior centerfielder Shane Crowder (1-for-3, RBI, run).
UIC got on the board in the third inning, as senior outfielder Mike Hughes drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Dennis' wild pitch. Senior shortstop Jordan DeVoir (2-for-5, RBi, run) then plated Hughes with a RBI single, the Flames' first hit of the game, narrowing YSU's advantage to 3-1.
The Flames could not capitalize on a prime opportunity in the sixth-inning as they loaded the bases with no outs and could only score one run on a bases-loaded walk to Hughes, cutting the gap to 3-2. YSU coach Mike Florak brought in reliever Frank Santore, who promptly retired the first three batters he faced to end the frame.
The Penguins added an insurance run in the seventh inning Banks connected for a bases-loaded, RBI single extending YSU's lead to 4-2.
UIC answered in the bottom half of the frame as Crowder (hit-by-pitch), and sophomore designated hitter Ted Rosinski (single) reached base to open the inning, putting runners at first and third for the Flames.
Svitak, came into the game and promptly uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Crowder to score and moving Rosinski to second, narrowing the gap to 4-3. Senior catcher Nelson Gord sacrificed them over to second and third, bringing second baseman Bryan Russo to the plate.
Russo laid down a bunt that Svitak fielded cleanly, hanging Rosinski out to dry at third for the second out of the inning. Russo moved to second on the play, while Moran advanced to third base, bringing Hughes to the plate.
Hughes uncorked a laser to left-center field that Schlabach made a diving stab, robbing the Flames of two runs and ending the inning.