CHICAGO – The University of Chicago baseball team lost both ends of a home doubleheader to Beloit College on Saturday afternoon.
The Maroons evened their record at 12-12, while the Bucs improved to 19-7.
Game One – Beloit 2, UChicago 1
The opening game of the day was a pitcher's duel between UChicago freshman Joe Liberman and Beloit senior Ryan Kaveney. The duo matches zeros for the first four innings. Kevaney in particular worked rapidly on the mound, coming set and ready before the batters even stepped back into the box. That fast rhythm threw off the Maroon hitters for much of the day, especially when the bases were empty.
The Bucs tried to wait out Liberman and worked foul counts. But the visitors could not get the crucial hit for six innings as Liberman kept the ball down in the zone per usual. The freshman righthander went seven innings with seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
While the early innings zipped by, UChicago struck the initial blow in the bottom of the fifth. Junior designated hitter Nicholas Toomey singled to the outfield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, freshman outfielder Connor Hickey poked a liner over the third baseman's head which cut down the line and scored Toomey.
It looked as though the one run might be enough. However, a two-out error by the Maroons in the top of the seventh tied the game and allowed Beloit to go ahead the very next batter with an RBI double for a pair of unearned runs.
Kevaney worked all the way through the ninth inning with efficiency. UChicago threatened late as an error and walk put two runners on base. But Beloit weathered the comeback and got the third out to win the game 2-1.
Liberman (2-2) took the loss while sophomore Chase Packard went two innings with three strikeouts and one walk. The Maroons totaled nine hits and one error defensively. Four different players went 2-for-4, including Hickey, freshman catcher Ian Bohn, junior shortstop Ryan Krob and senior third baseman Tim Sonnefeldt.
Game Two – Beloit 8, UChicago 5
Playing their third extra-inning game in the past 11 days, the Maroons dropped the nightcap 8-5 in 10 innings.
Krob (3-for-4, sac bunt) and freshman Connor Hickey (3-for-6) led UChicago in the hit department as the home team scattered 13 hits and worked five walks. All nine batters in the lineup ended up with at least one hit. Beloit overcame five errors in the game compared to the Maroons' one.
Five pitchers worked for UChicago – in order of appearance – sophomore Ricardo Fernandez (4 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 7 BB, 3 K); junior Thomas Prescott (2.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K); freshman Isaac Johnston (0.1 IP, 1 H), freshman Michael DiStefano (2.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB) and senior Alex Athenson (0.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K). DiStefano (0-1) was saddled with the loss and the Maroon pitching staff issued 12 walks in the game.
The Maroons got the scoring started in their half of the first when Sonnefeldt, who singled out of the two-hole with one out, scored on a throwing error. Then in the second, UChicago added two more runs. Krob singled through the left side of the infield to start things off, before becoming the inning's first out on a sophomore outfielder Max Larsen fielder's choice. Freshman third baseman Brady Sarkon singled to put runners at first and second before another fielder's choice cut down Sarkon, putting men at the corners. With two outs, UChicago got aggressive on the base paths, pulling the string on a double steal. Freshman outfielder Josh Parks drew the throw to second base and Larsen took off for home, sliding around and under the tag at home plate. Then freshman second baseman Max Brzostowski smacked an RBI double into the left center gap to give the home team an early 3-0 advantage.
UChicago had numerous opportunities to lengthen the lead. But the Maroons stranded the bases loaded on three different occasions in the third, fourth and seventh innings. The lack of execution came back to bite them when the visitors scored three runs in the top of the fifth. Beloit then snatched a 5-3 lead with two more in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the Maroon offense cut the deficit to one after four scoreless frames. Bohn singled and then moved over to second base on a walk issued to sophomore first baseman Michael Davis. Krob bunted both men into scoring position for the first out of the inning before Larsen brought home Bohn with an RBI single through the right side.
Down to their last out in the ninth inning, the Maroons rallied back to extend the game into extras. Krob singled down the left field line to start of the frame and was bunted over by Larsen. A wild pitch moved the runner to third base, but a subsequent strike three accounted for the 26th out. However, Parks came through in the clutch by knocking an RBI single right up the gut to score Krob and tie the game at 5-5.
In the top half of the 10th, the Bucs scored three times to jump ahead 8-5 and the lead would stand to give Beloit the win.
- Sunday, April 24 – UChicago at Rockford University (DH), 2 PM