CHICAGO – On a cold and rainy afternoon where runs were at a premium, the University of Chicago baseball team received another big pitching performance and a clutch two-run triple to beat Lawrence University 3-1 on Sunday.
The Maroons won their third-straight game and moved over .500 to 9-8 on the season. The Vikings fell to 6-9. The day was scheduled to feature a doubleheader, but rainy conditions led to the cancellation of game two.
Senior righthander Lucas Friss turned in yet another complete game effort – his third of the season. The staff ace tossed all seven innings with one run and six hits allowed. He walked an uncharacteristic two batters after entering the day with one walk in his previous four starts. Friss also struck out four batters.
Offensively, UChicago finished with eight hits. The top of the lineup was most productive as the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters – freshman outfielder Connor Hickey and junior designated hitter Nicholas Toomey – each went 2-for-4.
Both teams made one error defensively. Senior third baseman Tim Sonnefeldt stood out with stellar defense at the hot corner. Lawrence hitters were frequently out in front of Friss' curveball and changeup, which sent numerous grounders Sonnefeldt's way.
Rain drops fell all game long, and neither offense was able to make a big move against the opposing pitcher. Friss cruised through much of the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. A walk and a single put two runners on, and a flare to left field with two outs scored the game's first run for Lawrence. A groundout to third base ended the inning.
The Maroons threatened to score early, but stranded two runners in the second, third and fourth innings. The RBI hit eluded the home team until the bottom of the fifth. Toomey led off with a single and a hard shot by freshman catcher Ian Bohn went right through the first baseman's legs. A walk loaded the bases with one out and junior first baseman Thomas Prescott stepped to the plate. Prescott knocked a high, curving sacrifice fly to right field that scored Bohn, but the advancing runner from first base was thrown out to end the inning.
The Vikings almost broke the 1-1 tie in the top half of the sixth. Two singles and an infield error filled the bags with only one out. However, Friss bore down and induced two more groundouts to escape without any damage. The first grounder went right to Sonnefeldt, who immediately threw home to force the runner out at the plate. The next resulted in a fielder's choice putout at second base.
Sonnefeldt got UChicago going in the bottom of the sixth by absorbing his second hit-by-pitch of the day to start the at-bat. Two outs later, Hickey fooled the defense by placing a perfect bunt single down the third base line that the fielder's weren't able to make a play on. The two-out rally culminated with Toomey, who smacked a hard line drive to right center. The right fielder looked to be tracking the ball at a full sprint, but his diving attempt was for naught as Toomey motored all the way to third base for the two-run triple.
With a 3-1 lead in hand, Friss handled Lawrence in the seventh. He froze the final batter with his signature curveball for a strikeout looking. The senior improved to 3-2 on the year and his ERA now stands at 1.09.
As a pitching staff, the Maroons only allowed two runs over 21 innings pitched this weekend for a 0.86 ERA.
- Tuesday, April 12 – UChicago at Lewis University, 6 PM