The University of Chicago baseball team just doesn’t like WashU. A game against heated rivals WashU (25—16), in St. Louis, is about as close to a playoff picture as you can get in the regular season for the Maroons (14—7), and they did not get only one shot to face their hated rivals this weekend—they got three. Playing in their first triple-header in 23 years, Chicago captured all three games on Saturday in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the Maroons’ season. The Maroons overwhelmed WashU 17—3 in the opening contest, took the second game by a score of 7-4, and edged out a 5-4 victory in the series finale, a result which is sure to dramatically improve Chicago’s playoff chances.
“It was pretty cool to sweep WashU,” first-year center fielder Ricky Troncelliti said. “It was my first experience playing them, but I could tell from the older guys how important it is to beat them. To do it all in one day made it even better.”
The Maroons outscored WashU 29—11 on the day, continuing the slugfest that has kept them winning all season.
“Our hitting has been successful this season because of the consistency up and down the lineup. One through nine, everyone can rake,” third-year first baseman J.R. Lopez said. “The WashU game was an example of what we can do to good pitchers when everyone is on.”
The sweep on Saturday was the epitome of what the Maroon lineup is capable of producing in the team’s biggest games.
The series was kicked off by first-year third baseman Will Katzka hitting a solo home run in the second inning of game one. Katzka would go on to drive in two more runs in later innings. Lopez also got in on the action, hitting a three-run homer as part of a 12-run inning in the fifth.
With the 12-run offensive assault, the Maroons cruised to the day’s first triumph behind the pitching of fourth-year Dan McConologue, who allowed nine hits and three runs on the day with no walks. McConologue improved his record on the year to 2—1.
The headliner for game two was Troncelliti, who stepped up in a big way in his first series against Chicago’s biggest rival. The center fielder hit a solo home run to start off the second inning and topped that homer an inning later with another bomb, this time a two-run shot. Troncelliti’s day wasn’t over, however, as he went on to drive in one more RBI with a triple in the sixth.
Third-year pitcher Alex Garcia tallied his third win of the season in the 7-4 win, allowing only six hits in a complete game on the mound.
The Maroons won their final game on the mound, and on the field, in the fourth inning.
Troncelliti said, “We had timely hitting from a lot of people. We just had a great gut-it-out win in the finale.”
That timely hitting came in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Maroons scored four runs to push the game to 5-4. Katza continued where he left off in game one, driving in the go-ahead run and crossing home for the game’s final score.
Katza went from the plate to the mound at the top of the seventh. Moving from third base, Katza saved the game both on the plate in the fourth and on the mound when it counted most. Stepping in for first-year starter Alex Terry, who improved to 3-0 after allowing only six hits and three runs over five innings, Katza capped the triple-header with three outs and a win.
The Maroons look to defeat Elmhurst with the same intensity they used to take down their WashU.