Maroon Baseball Caps Senior Day with Series Sweep of Caltech

Ricardo Fernandez, Maximiliano Larsen and Matt Slodzinski
Ricardo Fernandez, Maximiliano Larsen and Matt Slodzinski

CHICAGO – The University of Chicago baseball team finished off a three-game sweep of California Institute of Technology in its final home game on Sunday, as a late offensive breakthrough led the Maroons to an 11-3 victory over the Beavers.

UChicago improved to 22-9 and Caltech concluded its season at 4-33.

Sunday was Senior Day for the trio of pitcher Ricardo Fernandez, outfielder Maximiliano Larsen and catcher Matt Slodzinski. The three graduating players were honored on the field before the game with their families alongside. Larsen took his customary position in right field while Fernandez and Slodzinski formed the starting battery.

The home team reached double-digit runs for the second game in-a-row with the help of two-RBI performances from junior leftfielder Josh Parks, junior first baseman Brady Sarkon and sophomore third baseman Drew Ventrelle. Parks hit his second home run in as many days, a solo shot to right field that gives him four homers on the season.

Fernandez held the opposition scoreless over the first three innings before first-year Chandler Yu took the mound for the next three frames. Junior righty Ravi Bakhai struck out four in two scoreless innings to earn the win in relief, and first-year David Clarke finished things off in the ninth.

UChicago struck quickly in the bottom of the first. When Parks knocked a double to the fence in center, Larsen hustled all the way around to score from first. Parks was involved again in the third, scoring from second base as Sarkon singled to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

Caltech responded in the top of the fifth. The Beavers' first scoring effort failed as Parks corralled a single and cut down a baserunner at the plate, with Slodzinski applying the tag. Two more base hits, however, plated three for the visitors and put them in the lead. It would not last, as Parks immediately evened the tally in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff home run past the right field fence.

The Maroons took control again in the sixth. With runners on second and third after a Ventrelle double, first-year shortstop Brian Lyle ripped a hard single back up the middle to score his classmate and double-play partner James Kelly. Junior centerfielder Connor Hickey followed with an RBI single of his own, bringing the margin to 5-3.

Caltech attempted to answer in the top of the seventh, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Bakhai came on and after inducing a foul pop-out, struck out two batters to end the threat.

The Maroons left no doubt in the bottom of the eight, putting six runs across to ensure victory. Hickey laid down a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a hit by Larsen, and scored on a wild pitch. Larsen scored on a fielder's choice with Sarkon at the plate. Junior catcher Ian Bohn drove in a run with his only at-bat of the day and Ventrelle added an exclamation point with a two-run single. Alert base running from Kelly at third allowed him to score on a passed ball, giving UChicago its 11th and final tally of the day.

Parks and Ventrelle both went 3-for-5 with two RBI, while Slodzinski and Hickey also enjoyed multi-hit outings. As a team, the Maroons compiled 15 hits and five walks. The pitching staff struck out 10 batters as well.

NEXT GAME:

  • Tuesday, May 1 @ 6:00 PM – UChicago at University of Illinois-Chicago