Clutch Pitching Shuts Door in Dramatic Ninth Inning; Maroon Baseball Tops Southwestern 6-4

Connor Hickey
Connor Hickey

GEORGETOWN, Texas – Despite being in control of the game all evening, the University of Chicago baseball team faced a stressful situation in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bases were full with one out, and the tying run on second base.

But David Clarke proved to be the man for the moment; the first-year closer struck out the next two batters swinging to preserve the 6-4 victory at Southwestern (Texas) University.

The Maroons (7-3 record) won their seventh-straight game while the Pirates fell to 6-9.

UChicago led 6-2 in the eighth inning when Southwestern scored twice on a double and a wild pitch to halve the deficit. Clarke then entered the game in relief and immediately struck out two to end the frame. The dramatics continued in the ninth – the Pirates filled the bases thanks to a single, a hit-by-pitch and an outfield error. Clarke shut the door with his third and fourth K's of the night, earning his third save of the year in the process.

First-year designated hitter Joseph Burns opened the scoring with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the second inning. Sophomore infielder Drew Ventrelle soon followed with a RBI sacrifice fly, and a groundout by junior outfielder Connor Hickey made the score 3-0. Then in the fifth, junior catcher Ian Bohn's RBI grounder expanded the advantage to four.

Bohn picked up his second RBI of the night on a fielder's choice in the seventh, which was immediately preceded by senior outfielder Maximiliano Larsen's RBI sacrifice fly to center.

The Maroon pitchers put up another impressive overall effort as five different hurlers saw action on the mound. UChicago whiffed 12 Southwestern hitters – the staff has now tallied double-digit strikeout totals seven times already this season.

Sophomore Daniel Smith pitched the first inning and was followed up by first-year Chandler Yu, who picked up his first collegiate victory. Yu worked 3.2 innings with one earned run, three hits, two walks and three K's. Sophomore Patrick Murphy struck out four batters in his 2.1 innings before giving way to first-year Zach Morochnik (0.1 IP) and Clarke (1.2 IP).

The Maroons outhit the Pirates 10-8 while the two teams combined for five errors. Hickey recorded his second-straight game with three hits. Burns and first-year infielder James Kelly each went 2-for-4 at the dish.

NEXT GAME:

  • Friday, Mar. 23 @ 7:00 PM – UChicago at Texas Lutheran University