ATLANTA, Ga. – A career-best performance from freshman Connor Hickey was a catalyst for the University of Chicago baseball team's 7-5 victory at Oglethorpe University on Wednesday night.
The Maroons improved to 4-4 on the season while dropping the Stormy Petrels to 11-12.
Hickey provided a perfect 4-for-4 showing at the plate in his fifth career game. The rookie outfielder also drove in two runs and utilized his speed to steal two bases. Freshman catcher Ian Bohn also added two hits to the mix as the Maroons banged out nine hits on the evening.
UChicago grabbed a 3-0 lead after two innings under the lights. Singles by Bohn and Hickey led off the second inning, and sophomore designated hitter Matt Slodzinski brought them home by going the other way with a three-run shot over the right field fence.
Starting pitcher Ricardo Fernandez buzzed through the Oglethorpe offense for the opening five innings. The sophomore struck out four batters in that time. However, he ran into trouble in the sixth inning thanks to a trio of walks that loaded the bases. Freshman Alex McGimpsey entered the game in relief and the Maroons almost escaped unscathed. But a dropped foul ball kept the inning alive and the Stormy Petrels capitalized with a pair of singles that tied the game at 3-3.
Three unearned runs gave UChicago new life in the top of the seventh. Hickey singled through the left side to plate one, then a double steal by Hickey and freshman outfielder Josh Parks put runners on second and third. Junior shortstop Ryan Krob singled Parks in, and Hickey showed a flair for the dramatic when he stole home to put the team up 6-3.
Oglethorpe hung tough with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of RBI doubles. The narrow 6-5 advantage persisted into the ninth inning. With two outs, Bohn doubled down the right field. Hickey then gave the Maroons some breathing room with a RBI single.
Down to its last at-bats, the home team kept things interesting. Closer Michael Davis came on for the Maroons, and Oglethorpe put men on second and third base with one out. Davis struck out the next batter swinging to put UChicago one out away from the win. He hit the next batter with a pitch to load the bases, but the sophomore right hander came right back with another strikeout to end the game and earn his second save.
McGimpsey got the win in relief (0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 K). Sophomore Chase Packard was effective with two innings, two hits and three strikeouts to his credit. Davis went one inning with a pitching line of one hit, one walk and two strikeouts. The pitching staff finished with 11 whiffs combined.
- Friday, March 25 – UChicago at LaGrange College (DH), 1 PM