The Maroons poured in the runs this week. On the back of these two strong wins, Chicago will enter into a set of doubleheaders against Beloit and Aurora this weekend.
The first of this week’s two games was an offense-fueled affair. The South Siders traveled to Elmhurst and were greeted by third-year pitcher Justin Luzzi. The Bluejay pitcher was quickly chased away by the strong bats of the Maroons. After yielding four runs in the first four innings, he was yanked from the game. However, the Bluejays were able to match the offensive prowess of the Maroons, and after the bottom of the fourth inning, the home squad was down just a single run. This one-run differential held through the bottom of the seventh, as the Maroons led 7–6 with two innings left to play.
With the help of the Bluejays’ miserable defense, the Chicago squad exploded for nine runs in the eighth inning, six of which were unearned. In the end, these runs were the exact margin of victory as the Maroons rode the slacking defense of the Bluejays on their way to a 16–10 win.
Even more incredible than the six unearned runs in the top of the seventh was fourth-year pitcher Andrew VanWazer’s performance. He pitched all nine innings, and faced 49 batters on the day, throwing 140 pitches in what was a truly gutsy performance.
Playing down his long start, VanWazer said, “It was a lot of pitches, and the most I’ve thrown in a Maroon jersey, but I’ve thrown more pitches in games before during high school.” Laughing, he added, “I probably could’ve thrown 100 more.”
VanWazer and company traveled back to the South Side in preparation for a home bout against North Central the next day. The Maroons put the visitors away early. After an infield error put the leadoff batter on first, second-year Ryan Krob hit a two-run jack to put the home side up 2–0. Two more Maroons made their way home in the inning, handing the reins over to fourth-year Anthony DeRenzo with a four-run lead. It was all the veteran starter needed.
The Maroons were stalwart, yielding only three runs to the visiting Cardinals. This is pretty impressive, considering the 20–12 North Central side beat Lawrence earlier in the year by a score of 30–0. Behind Krob’s four RBIs, the Maroons closed out the game.
Looking ahead, the Maroons look to extend their win streak this Saturday with a doubleheader against Beloit College. The Bucs have won only one of their past seven games, so the Maroons are looking to continue their climb to .500 with a pair of wins this weekend. The next day the Maroons have yet another doubleheader, this time against the Spartans of Aurora, a pair of games that will take place in Aurora, Illinois.
The Aurora team is 19–15 on the year and sport an impressive .319 batting average. They certainly enter as the favorites, but the Maroon bats are certainly capable of keeping pace. Should the Maroons sweep the weekend, they will have clawed their way back from a 2–8 start to .500, an impressive feat.
The doubleheaders against Beloit and Aurora begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.