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March 30, 2017

Bats Break Out Over Break

While the rest of their classmates were off having a restful and relaxing spring break, the UChicago baseball players were hard at work. The team traveled to Auburndale and Winter Haven, FL, where they participated in eight games over the course of a week. Their strong performances in these games will hopefully provide a solid foundation for the rest of the season as they look to continue their successes in the University of Wisconsin–Superior series this coming Saturday.

The Maroons kicked off the week with a bang on March 18 with a game against St. Olaf. The South Siders smashed the competition, earning a 10–2 victory. The next two games, which took place over the next two days, resulted in wins as well, with the Maroons emerging with 4–2 and 11–3 wins over Union and Carleton, respectively.

The next two games proved to be challenges for the Maroons, ones they did not emerge from successfully. In their game against Dartmouth on March 21, the Maroons suffered a 19–11 loss. Two days later, they suffered another loss against Fontbonne with an 8–3 showing.

Despite the two rocky games, the Maroons managed to rally toward the end of the week to complete the remainder of their games on a high note. On March 24, the South Siders dominated D’Youville with a final score of 13–1. The following day, they achieved another extremely decisive victory against Keuka with a score of 10–1.

The South Siders finished up the week with a game against Southern Maine, which they won 9–5. While this game did not have as wide of a margin of victory as some of the others from throughout the week, it was indeed a solid win.

Overall, the Maroons seemed to be very pleased with their performances. “The offense had been rolling before we went on our spring trip, so the real difference for us was pitching and defense,” said second-year outfielder Connor Hickey, who had standout performances in several of the games throughout the week. “We were able to put together all three parts and it showed in some big victories against quality opponents," he continued. Hickey's teammate, Tim Sonnefeldt—a fourth-year infielder—had nothing but praise for his teammates. 

“We played some good baseball over break,” he said. “Our guys love to compete and it showed this past week going 6–2 as a team.” With the additional six victories under their belt, the Maroons will look to continue their three-game winning streak this upcoming weekend in a series against UW–Superior. The Maroons will play two games against the Yellowjackets on Saturday before playing a final game on Sunday. 

“Coming off the win over Southern Maine, it is important that we stay focused especially now that we are going to be playing in less than ideal weather,” Sonnefeldt said. “Wisconsin teams are always tough, and it would be huge for our team going forward to have sustained success.”

The outcome of the game should prove to be an interesting one. The two teams have not playedeach other this season or in recent years, nor have they faced any common opponents this year or last year. However, their respective records thus far seem to indicate that a win may be in the cards for the Maroons. While UW–Superior currently holds a 2–9 losing record, the Maroons have managed to garner an 8–4 winning record. 

Going into the game, the primary emotion that seems to be pervading the team is one of enthusiasm and eagerness to get back out on the field. 

“We're excited to be back in Chicago and to be playing this Saturday.... It should be a cool experience,” said Hickey. “We're all ready and willing to get back to playing some games.”

The series against UWSuperior will take place this Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2. The two games on Saturday will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. while the game on Sunday will take place at noon. All games will be hosted at the Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC.

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