Maroon baseball drops a pair at LaGrange

Tim Sonnefeldt
Tim Sonnefeldt

LAGRANGE, Ga. – The University of Chicago baseball team scored late in both of Friday's games but lost both ends of a doubleheader at LaGrange College on Friday.

The Maroons dropped to 4-6 and the Panthers improved to 19-10.

Game One – LaGrange 4, UChicago 3

The Maroons spotted the Panthers two unearned runs in the first four innings for an early deficit that the team could not overcome.

Freshman outfielder Connor Hickey had three hits while sophomore first baseman Michael Davis (2-5), junior shortstop Ryan Krob (2-3) and senior third baseman Tim Sonnefeldt (2-4) all added two hits apiece. UChicago's offense totaled 10 hits but also made four errors defensively.

Senior pitcher Lucas Friss started the game, allowing one earned run (three runs) through four innings of work, along with seven hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

In the top of the seventh, despite having seven hits through six innings and at least one hit every inning, UChicago scored its first run. Sophomore outfielder Max Larsen started things off with a walk. Freshman second baseman Max Brzostowski bunted him over to second and then Hickey's grounder advanced Larsen to within 90 feet of home plate with two outs and Davis' lineup spot due up. The power-hitting Davis came through, hitting a line drive single down the left field line to bring home his fellow sophomore.

LaGrange reassumed a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh when junior Casey Bell homered to left field. The Panthers turned the eighth and ninth innings over to their pen after sophomore Ryan Broaderick turned in seven innings of one-run baseball.

The Maroons would not go quietly, sparking late drama in the ninth. Sophomore designated hitter Matt Slodzinski walked to lead off and was then pushed over to second when Larsen recorded his third free pass of the afternoon. Hickey elected to bunt and beat out the errant throw, scoring Slodzinski's pinch runner – freshman Alex McGimpsey – and moving Larsen over to third. Then Larsen scored and Hickey, representing the tying run, moved over to third when the Panthers' pitcher threw a wild pitch to the backstop. However, with the tying run at third and one out, the next two Maroon batters flied out to centerfield and then grounded out to first, allowing LaGrange to escape narrowly with a 4-3 win.

Junior Thomas Prescott threw four innings in relief of Friss, allowing only one run on three hits and one strikeout.

Game Two – LaGrange 12, UChicago 4

UChicago scored four runs in the top of the seventh, but were unable to overcome the game's early deficit and dropped the second half of the doubleheader 12-4 in seven innings.

Larsen reached base in two of his three plate appearances, going 1-for-2 with a walk. McGimpsey recorded the first hit and RBI of his collegiate career, going 1-for-3. Fellow freshman designated hitter Brady Sarkon went 1-for-2 as a pinch hitter and Sonnefeldt was 1-for-3.

The Panthers scored six times in the second inning, three times in the fifth, and once in the third, fourth and sixth. The Maroons did not make an error, but the home team sprayed the ball around the field for 13 hits.

Trailing 12-0 in the top of the seventh, the Maroon bats woke up in a big way. The offense scored four runs (two earned), and received hits from McGimpsey, who singled to right field, and Sonnefeldt, who singled up the middle. LaGrange was still able to hold onto the decision by a final margin of 12-4.

After senior starting pitcher Nick Watson was chased after one inning (8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO), the Maroons used five pitchers in relief of him. The relievers included freshman Ravi Bakhai (3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO); junior William Potebnya-Meyer (0+ IP, 3 ER, 2 BB); freshman Michael DiStefano (1 IP, 1 H); sophomore Cameron Brown (1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER); and freshman Isaac Johnston (2/3 IP).

NEXT GAME:

  • Saturday, March 26 – UChicago at Emory University, Noon (ET)