Although this season may not have played out exactly as they may have hoped, the Maroons come home to compete today, hoping to end the year on a high note with a three-game series against Wash U.
The South Siders (9–25) have struggled of late, coming off a string of four losses, putting them last in the UAA. The Bears (25–16) have improved on what was looking to be a mediocre season, winning 10 in a row in the past two and a half weeks, which places them fourth in the conference.
The most recent of Chicago’s losses came against crosstown foe Northwestern, who battle the South Siders annually.
In Evanston, the Maroons put together a spectacular defensive performance, as fourth-year pitcher Alex Terry held the Wildcats to one run through seven innings. However, Chicago couldn’t quite muster up the needed offense, allowing Northwestern to steal the 2–1 victory. Third-year outfielder Edward Akers collected the only RBI for the Maroons, scoring fourth-year outfielder Brett Huff in the ninth inning.
Despite the discrepancy in their record, the South Siders come into this weekend against Wash U trusting that their team is considerably more capable than the numbers in the win-loss column might indicate.
“All we are focusing on is playing well,” said first-year pitcher Thomas Prescott. “If we do that and have all facets of our game going, then it is very difficult to beat us.”
Chicago’s seasoned veterans know exactly what the Bears bring to the table.
“One thing I’ve learned from Wash U my four years here is that they are aggressive hitters and will put the ball in play,” said fourth-year relief pitcher Ray Kim. “Our defense has to expect the ball to come to them, and our pitchers have to throw strikes and have quick innings. Hitting-wise, we need to jump out ahead and get the lead early.”
“Wash U is a good team, and from our experiences this year, we are pretty evenly matched,” said fourth-year designated hitter and co-captain Ricky Troncelliti. “It’ll be three tough games as always.”
This series has an added significance for the fourth-years, as they will be playing the final games of their college careers at home against what many consider to be Chicago’s top conference rival.
“Although we have had a rough season, my mentality is to always win,” Kim said. “Last time we played [Wash U] at home, we had a tripleheader, and we swept them. I know our team will be focused and come out ready to finish the season strong.”
Many of the departing fourth-years will have the added privilege of playing in front of their friends and families for the doubleheader tomorrow, as this will be Senior Day for the team as well.
“This weekend is the [other] seniors’ and my last game, so we will have most of our families in the stands,” Kim said. “I hope that the seniors and I can go out on top on a positive note.”
Kim may be able to accent that note, as he is just one appearance shy of becoming second of all-time in appearances in a Maroon uniform.
Come see the Maroons take on the Bears today at 4 p.m., and then for the Senior Day doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.