The UChicago baseball team had a successful weekend at home, winning back-to-back games against Central College of Iowa with scores of 5–4 and 11–4.
Despite a very solid effort from third-year pitcher Brenton Villasenor, who struck out eight batters in six innings of play, as well as a pair of runs in the first inning from third-year outfielder Josh Parks and third-year catcher Ian Bohn, the team was on edge for much of the game, as a series of errors in the third inning allowed the Dutch to score four runs.
However, the South Siders refused to give up, and clawed their way back into the game. Third-year first baseman Brady Sarkon scored in the fifth inning, bringing the score to 4–3. In the final inning, Parks made it to first, and then moved forward on a sacrifice bunt from Sarkon and a single from second-year designated hitter Payton Jancsy. The final play of the game, a sacrifice bunt by first-year shortstop Brian Lyle, marked the thrilling end of the game, as it was just enough to send Jancsy home for the winning run.
On the defensive side, first-year pitcher Zach Morochnik, who took over for Villasenor in the final inning, was able to close the game effectively, allowing no hits or runs and striking out one batter.
Villasenor credits the team’s victory to their resilience, stating, “I thought we showed a lot of fight in the first game. Things weren’t going our way early on, but we kept battling. Fortunately, we were able to put a lot of pressure on them in the last two innings that we took advantage of to come out on top.”
Jancsy was at the center of the Maroon offense in the first game, batting in three of UChicago’s five hits. Jancsy’s hits allowed Parks and Bohn to score in the first inning, and also drove Sarkon to home in the fifth.
“Coach [John] Fitzgerald always talks about finding ways to win and that is just what we did during game one,” added Payton. “Although our bats were quiet early on, Brent kept us within striking distance and when the opportunity came in the final inning with runners on, Brian was able to get the job done.”
Second-year Jacob Petersen started the second game and had a very strong outing, allowing no runs and only two hits, while striking out four batters. The Maroon offense exploded to build up a 9–0 lead by the end of the fourth inning. Though Central managed to score a run in the sixth, along with three in the seventh, it was still not enough to defeat the South Siders, with second-year Nathan Hendley making his first pitching appearance this season after taking time off from an injury.
With these two victories, the baseball team is ready to take on the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Tuesday.
The Maroons’ next game will be taking place against IIT on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m. They will be playing at Chicago State University.