Maroon baseball wins home opener 9-3 over Elmhurst

Michael Davis and Joe Liberman
Michael Davis and Joe Liberman

CHICAGO – In its first home game of the season, the University of Chicago baseball team utilized solid pitching and clutch hits to beat Elmhurst College 9-3 on Wednesday.

The Maroons improved to 5-7 and dropped the Bluejays to 11-5.

Freshman Joe Liberman earned the starting nod on the mound. The right hander was sharp from the onset and kept the ball low in the zone all afternoon. His command remained tight throughout as he only walked one batter in 6.2 innings while striking out five. Liberman's lone run allowed was unearned. Elmhurst scored that tally thanks to a two-out error followed by a single and another error on the play.

UChicago was first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman third baseman Brady Sarkon drew the first of his three walks on the day and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Fellow freshman outfielder Josh Parks singled through the left side and Sarkon came around to score after the left fielder misplayed the ball.

After Elmhurst tied the score in the top of the third, UChicago took advantage of another Elmhurst miscue. Freshman second baseman Max Brzostowski made it all the way to third base after his bunt to the pitcher was thrown away. Freshman outfielder Connor Hickey knocked him in immediately after to make the score 2-1.

Hickey was at the center of the next UChicago run in the fifth inning. After reaching on fielder's choice, he stole second base and then reached home when sophomore first baseman Michael Davis cracked a double to left field.

Elmhurst finally got to Liberman in the top of the seventh inning, knocking two singles and drawing a walk to load the bases. With two outs, sophomore reliever Chase Packard entered the game to face Elmhurst's three-spot hitter. His first pitch was hit up the middle, but junior shortstop Ryan Krob made a big defensive stop and threw just in time to first base to end the threat.

Brzostowski doubled to start the bottom of the seventh and eventually scored on a groundout to make the score 4-1 in favor of the home team. Freshman catcher Ian Bohn was credited with the RBI.

The rainy, overcast afternoon took a turn for the worse in the eighth as the sky opened up and dumped hard rain on the participants. The game continued, however, and the Bluejays made things interesting with a pair of run-scoring singles to pull within 4-3.

The drama was short lived though as the Maroons posted five runs in the bottom of the eighth. With runners in scoring position, Parks lofted a two-run double to the deepest part of right-center field. Brzostowski's third hit of the game moved Parks to third base, and he then scored on Hickey's RBI grounder. Davis capped off the contest with a towering two-run homer to straight-away left field. The sophomore leads the team with three home runs and 11 RBI so far this season.

Davis also got into the action with a perfect ninth inning on the mound, striking out two. Liberman improved his season record to 1-1 for his first collegiate victory. As a pitching staff, UChicago only walked one batter and struck out nine. Junior Thomas Prescott (1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 K) also saw game action.

On offense, the Maroons totaled 10 hits. Brzostowski went 3-for-4 while Davis (three RBI) and Parks (two RBI) were both 2-for-4. The defense committed two errors.

NEXT GAMES:

  • Saturday, April 2 – University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh vs. UChicago (at St. Xavier University), Noon