SPORTS

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May 10, 2011

Chicago shines at the home of the White Sox

Nerves, adrenaline, and excitement ran through the University of Chicago baseball team’s veins on Sunday as the Maroons stepped onto U.S. Cellular Field. They were set to play the game they love most in an arena that most people can only get to dream about.

It was not just any game for Chicago. It was nine innings of the Maroons running in the footsteps of some of the greatest to ever hold a bat and wear a glove. This was a game where the Maroons would not be walking through the visiting tunnel of Illinois Institute of Technology, but through the same hallways that once graced the presence of Cal Ripken, Jr., Barry Bonds, and Frank Thomas, past the same World Series Trophy that “uncursed” the “uncursable” Black Sox.

On a day where the Maroons (18—11—1) played baseball on the sport’s biggest stage, a major league stadium, UChicago stepped up to the plate and rounded the same bases that baseball’s highest level of competition had run on just a few days prior.

Finding themselves on footing that every little leaguer imagines his cleats digging into one day, Major League clay, the Maroons fulfilled their dream game by overwhelming the Illinois Institute of Technology (11–23) by a score of 7–3.

Second-year left fielder Jack Cinoman said, “It is every player’s dream to play in a Major League Stadium, so it’s hard not to be amped up and have high adrenaline going into a game like this.”

That adrenaline is what drove Cinoman and the rest of the Maroon baseball team to one of the year’s most significant victories. The left fielder was a major component of the win, almost going perfect on the day with four hits on five at bats, two RBIs, one stolen base, and one run scored. His finest inning came in the seventh, when he seemingly did it all: hitting a single, stealing a base, and driving in a crucial run.

First-year designated hitter Brett Huff also took advantage of the opportunity that most people only fantasize about from behind their television screens, going three-for-five with three stolen bases, an RBI, and a run scored.

What really pulled in for the Maroons, however, was their pitching.

Head coach Brian Baldea said, “The game was well played and we came through on the mound, at the plate, and on the bases when we needed to. Maybe the most impressive part of our game yesterday was the fact that our three pitchers did not allow an earned run and, after the first inning, prevented Illinois Tech from any significant threats to score at all.”

The pitcher who came away with the victory was first-year Alex Terry (5–1), who threw three scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. Terry also struck out two on the day.

“It’s always nice getting the win, but Dan [McConologue] and [Alex] García deserve the same amount of credit. It was a staff day,” Terry said after the game.

Third-year Alex García closed the outing for the Maroons, blowing by anyone and everyone who stepped up to the plate in the contest’s final innings. Garcia retired eight of the nine batters he faced and had his own take on what it was like to jog onto the mound at U.S. Cellular.

”Making the long, majestic run to the mound from the bullpen was unlike any experience I have had in my baseball career. Thinking about the great pitchers that have toed that rubber was mind-blowing. It was great to perform well also. It gave me a little taste of some of the success that has been achieved on that mound,” García said.

Cinoman also added, “Although it may seem intimidating playing in such a big stadium, I think the energy of the fans and our excitement to be there fueled us to play our game and ultimately play very strong baseball.”

The Maroons do not want this to be the last time they play on big league turf, however. They are hoping to make a tradition out of playing at the White Sox home stadium, especially with the performance they delivered and the support they received.

Baldea said, “Playing at U.S. Cellular Field was a special experience for us, and one that I’m sure our guys will always remember. We are hoping that this “South Side College Classic” will become an annual thing that we can look forward to every year and that can progressively grow in terms of attendance and value to the University and our baseball program. It was good to see so many of our local alumni there, especially since it happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year.”

The Maroons’ win at Cellular Field followed their sweep of Rockford College (17–18) on Friday. Behind complete games by second-year Matt O’Connor (5–0) and first-year Claude Lockhart (1–1), Chicago destroyed the Regents 16–1 in the first game and 11–2 in the second. Lockhart had a career day, not allowing a single earned run and striking out a team season high of 11 batters.

Chicago looks to carry its momentum from the weekend into its season finale, as they attempt to upset D-I and Big 10 power Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.Nerves, adrenaline, and excitement ran through the University of Chicago baseball team’s veins on Sunday as the Maroons stepped onto U.S. Cellular Field. They were set to play the game they love most in an arena that most people can only get to dream about.

It was not just any game for Chicago. It was nine innings of the Maroons running in the footsteps of some of the greatest to ever hold a bat and wear a glove. This was a game where the Maroons would not be walking through the visiting tunnel of Illinois Institute of Technology, but through the same hallways that once graced the presence of Cal Ripken, Jr., Barry Bonds, and Frank Thomas, past the same World Series Trophy that “uncursed” the “uncursable” Black Sox.

On a day where the Maroons (18—11—1) played baseball on the sport’s biggest stage, a major league stadium, UChicago stepped up to the plate and rounded the same bases that baseball’s highest level of competition had run on just a few days prior.

Finding themselves on footing that every little leaguer imagines his cleats digging into one day, Major League clay, the Maroons fulfilled their dream game by overwhelming the Illinois Institute of Technology (11–23) by a score of 7–3.

Second-year left fielder Jack Cinoman said, “It is every player’s dream to play in a Major League Stadium, so it’s hard not to be amped up and have high adrenaline going into a game like this.”

That adrenaline is what drove Cinoman and the rest of the Maroon baseball team to one of the year’s most significant victories. The left fielder was a major component of the win, almost going perfect on the day with four hits on five at bats, two RBIs, one stolen base, and one run scored. His finest inning came in the seventh, when he seemingly did it all: hitting a single, stealing a base, and driving in a crucial run.

First-year designated hitter Brett Huff also took advantage of the opportunity that most people only fantasize about from behind their television screens, going three-for-five with three stolen bases, an RBI, and a run scored.

What really pulled in for the Maroons, however, was their pitching.

Head coach Brian Baldea said, “The game was well played and we came through on the mound, at the plate, and on the bases when we needed to. Maybe the most impressive part of our game yesterday was the fact that our three pitchers did not allow an earned run and, after the first inning, prevented Illinois Tech from any significant threats to score at all.”

The pitcher who came away with the victory was first-year Alex Terry (5–1), who threw three scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. Terry also struck out two on the day.

“It’s always nice getting the win, but Dan [McConologue] and [Alex] García deserve the same amount of credit. It was a staff day,” Terry said after the game.

Third-year Alex García closed the outing for the Maroons, blowing by anyone and everyone who stepped up to the plate in the contest’s final innings. Garcia retired eight of the nine batters he faced and had his own take on what it was like to jog onto the mound at U.S. Cellular.

”Making the long, majestic run to the mound from the bullpen was unlike any experience I have had in my baseball career. Thinking about the great pitchers that have toed that rubber was mind-blowing. It was great to perform well also. It gave me a little taste of some of the success that has been achieved on that mound,” García said.

Cinoman also added, “Although it may seem intimidating playing in such a big stadium, I think the energy of the fans and our excitement to be there fueled us to play our game and ultimately play very strong baseball.”

The Maroons do not want this to be the last time they play on big league turf, however. They are hoping to make a tradition out of playing at the White Sox home stadium, especially with the performance they delivered and the support they received.

Baldea said, “Playing at U.S. Cellular Field was a special experience for us, and one that I’m sure our guys will always remember. We are hoping that this “South Side College Classic” will become an annual thing that we can look forward to every year and that can progressively grow in terms of attendance and value to the University and our baseball program. It was good to see so many of our local alumni there, especially since it happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year.”

The Maroons’ win at Cellular Field followed their sweep of Rockford College (17–18) on Friday. Behind complete games by second-year Matt O’Connor (5–0) and first-year Claude Lockhart (1–1), Chicago destroyed the Regents 16–1 in the first game and 11–2 in the second. Lockhart had a career day, not allowing a single earned run and striking out a team season high of 11 batters.

Chicago looks to carry its momentum from the weekend into its season finale, as they attempt to upset D-I and Big 10 power Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

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