CLEVELAND – A burst of late scoring was not enough for the University of Chicago baseball team as the Maroons fell 11-7 to Case Western Reserve University in the first of a three-game series on Saturday.
Junior righthander Brenton Villasenor (4-4 record) struck out eight in six innings and held the host Spartans to three earned runs, but was tagged with the loss as four unearned runs crossed the plate. Sophomores Nate Hendley and Paul Chang each worked an inning in relief.
Outfielders Maximiliano Larsen and Josh Parks led the offensive effort for the visitors. Larsen went 3-for-4 and notched his 55th-career double to extend his school record. Parks, for his part, drove in three runs with a double and triple.
Villasenor struck out the side in the bottom of the first inning, but CWRU put six runs across in the second as a series of defensive mistakes from the Maroons extended the inning.
First-year second baseman James Kelly worked a walk to lead off the third with UChicago looking to bounce back. After he raced to third on a failed pickoff attempt, a single from double-play partner Brian Lyle brought him home.
Villasenor kept a lid on Case Western Reserve's offense through the middle frames, but the Maroons could not capitalize with a rally of their own. Instead, it would be the hosts who scored next, adding one to their lead in the bottom of the sixth.
With Hendley replacing Villasenor in the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans pressed their advantage, belting a two-run triple with no outs. In a tight spot, Hendley bore down and chalked up back-to-back strikeouts.
The top of the eighth brought the Maroons' long-awaited offensive outburst. After junior centerfielder Connor Hickey led off with a walk, Larsen doubled to right for his third hit of the day. This put two runners in scoring position for junior catcher Ian Bohn, who obliged with a base knock that scored Hickey. Parks upped the ante with a triple that brought Larsen and Bohn across. Junior first baseman Brady Sarkon immediately followed suit with a single up the middle that drove in Parks to make the score 9-5.
The Spartans retaliated with two of their own in the bottom of the eighth to once again extend their lead. Trailing by six runs, UChicago's last chance at bat would have to wait as the game entered a three-hour rain delay.
Hickey, the first man up, managed to get on base to start the final frame. He lingered at first until Parks came up with two outs and laced a double to right. Hickey raced all the way around to home and Parks had his third RBI of the game. After Sarkon earned a full-count walk to keep the game alive, sophomore designated hitter Payton Jancsy kept things going with a hit that sent Parks home. With runners on second and third, the Maroon rally came to a halt for a final score of 11-7.
Saturday was scheduled to be a doubleheader, but the afternoon rain changed the weekend format. The two teams will now play a doubleheader starting at 11:00 AM (ET) on Sunday.
- Sunday, May 13 @ 11:00 AM (ET) – UChicago at Case Western Reserve (DH)