Since the beginning of April, the Maroons have made a habit of alternating between winning and losing two consecutive games. Following their hot and cold pattern, the South Siders were due to win two in a row against St. Norbert on Tuesday.
For the first game of the doubleheader, Chicago sent ace third-year Nick Watson out to the mound for the home game against the Green Knights. Watson got himself into a jam immediately. He drilled the visiting shortstop during the very first at-bat. A passed ball sent second-year Derek Klegin to second base. Two batters later, the Knights had a man on each of the corners with only one out. The Knights’ batter hit a sharp grounder to third, and the Maroons completed the Around the Horn to end the inning.
On the offensive side of the plate, fourth-year third baseman Kyle Engel did the heavy lifting. He drove in three runs during the first three innings. Engel’s performance gave Watson the confidence he needed, allowing him to settle down on the mound after the first inning. He proceeded to pitch all seven innings, giving up a mere four hits and only a single earned run. Second-year Thomas Prescott earned himself an RBI for the Chicago squad in the fifth inning, and when Watson walked off the mound to end his day, the Maroons had won 4–1.
Watson came in with a specific plan for the Green Knights. “My approach against St. Norbert was to essentially get in favorable counts by throwing first-pitch curveballs for strikes, and to challenge hitters on the inside of the plate with the fastball.” Watson was clearly able to execute his game plan well in his third victory of the season.
In game two, Engel was equally impactful at the plate. After a shaky first inning from fourth-year pitcher Andrew VanWazer left St. Norbert with four runs on the board, the Maroons answered with the next five. Engel provided three RBIs, one of which was a thundering solo jack, and ended the game just a triple short of the cycle.
An unearned run in the top of the seventh allowed the Green Knights to tie the game up, and after an uneventful bottom half of the inning, the Maroons got to play a little bit extra. It wasn’t much because in the very next inning, the Chicago squad was able to close out the game with the winning RBI from second-year Ryan Krob.
It was a wonderful end to the day, and the Maroons prepared for a pleasant day trip to Carthage College for a nine-inning affair. Chicago was poised to break the aforementioned trend, and came hurtling out of the gate with a five-run second inning. It wasn’t enough to keep down the heavy-hitting Red Men. The Kenosha team is batting an impressive .336 on the year. Although the Maroons were able to drive in eight runs, the Red Men did them one better en route to a 9–8 victory over the visiting South Siders.
Chicago faces off against rival Wash U in a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game Sunday. Though they are the underdogs, the Maroons look to pull a fast one on the Bears and sneak out of St. Louis with a few wins. Watson sees hitting improvement and bullpen pitching as the keys to victory over the UAA foe.
“Our hitters have been more relaxed and confident and are putting some great swings on the ball as a result. […] We’ve also got young guys coming out of the bullpen who can shut down lineups as well.”
Hopefully St. Louis will see the Maroons break the double win, double loss curse that has plagued them since the start of the month.
Saturday’s game against the Bears begins at 11 a.m. at Wash U.