CHICAGO – The University of Chicago baseball team captured both games of its first Midwest Conference North Division doubleheader, outgunning Lawrence University 10-8 in the first game before cruising to a 12-2 win in the second contest on Tuesday at Stagg Field.
The Maroons (13-4 record, 2-0 MWC North) rode double-digit run totals to victory as they racked up 27 hits across 15.1 innings of play. Although the visiting Vikings (3-14, 0-6 MWC North) rallied late in the first game with six runs in the final two innings, they could not muster a second comeback as UChicago pulled into a decisive 10-run lead to end the day early.
Senior left fielder Josh Parks set a blistering pace at the plate, going 7-for-8 with three RBI, three doubles and a home run. Sophomore shortstop Brian Lyle drove in a team-high seven runs, including five in the second game. First-year third baseman Carson Weekley also homered.
Powerful performances from UChicago's starting pitchers complemented the offensive output. First-year righthander Sam Bennett (3-0) struck out 11 of the 28 batters he faced while giving up five hits and two runs to earn the win in the first contest. His fellow first-year, southpaw Kyle Petri (4-0), fanned seven over five innings as the pitcher of record in the second victory, conceding just three hits and one run.
Game One – UChicago 10, Lawrence 8
Bennett was on target from the beginning, throwing 15 of his 17 pitches for strikes in the first inning. After junior right fielder Payton Jancsy drew a leadoff walk and stole second to begin the bottom half, Lyle poked a bunt single down the third base line that moved his teammate up another base. Jancsy then scored on a double-play ball to put the hosts on the board first.
The Vikings slashed two hits in the top of the third inning to get a runner in scoring position and brought him home on a sacrifice fly to even the score. In the bottom of the third, however, Weekley mashed a homer deep into the left-center field alley to make it 2-1. It was the rookie's third home run of the season.
As Bennett continued to deal, UChicago added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. First-year second baseman Ben Rosengard earned a two-out walk, then sophomore designated hitter James Kelly ripped a breaking ball into right-center field for an RBI double. When Weekley later singled, Kelly found himself trapped in a rundown after rounding third, but crept toward home and flung himself headfirst under the tag to score.
The top of the fifth saw Lawrence also capitalize on daring baserunning as the Vikings attempted to steal home with an acrobatic leap for the plate that proved unnecessary as the throw from the mound was ruled a balk, trimming UChicago's lead to 4-2.
A crucial breakthrough came in the bottom of the sixth as Parks pounded an RBI double and the Maroons loaded the bases, driving Lawrence's starter from the hill. The Vikings had nearly worked their way out of the jam when Lyle, choking up on the bat in an 0-2 hole, sliced a single into right field that scored two runs. After the bases filled again, Jancsy also went down 0-2, but came back to draw a walk that plated another run.
Kelly yanked a single up the third-base line to lead off the bottom of the seventh, after which Parks drove another run-scoring double the opposite way. Parks then came around to score on a double play to make it 10-2 in favor of the hosts.
Lawrence refused to go quietly, stringing together hits to score twice in the eighth and four times in the ninth before sophomore closer David Clarke entered to record the final out and pick up his second save of the season.
Game Two – UChicago 12, Lawrence 2
UChicago claimed a first-inning lead again in the second contest as Rosengard lined one over the head of the second baseman to score Jancsy, who had got on board with a leadoff single.
In the top of the second, Lawrence drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on pickoff attempt that skidded into foul territory. A sacrifice fly brought the runner home to tie the game at 1-1.
The Maroons responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame. Lyle jabbed a bases-loaded single to score two, then senior catcher Ian Bohn drove in another on a sacrifice fly. Senior first baseman Brady Sarkon powered a double into right-center field that brought Lyle around. Alert baserunning rounding third allowed Sarkon to score as the Vikings left fielder dove after a shallow single from Rosengard.
The rally left UChicago ahead 6-1, improved the next inning as Parks piped a home run over the right-field fence.
His next time up in the bottom of the fifth, Parks singled and senior center fielder Connor Hickey followed up with a double, putting two men in scoring position for the red-hot Lyle, who obliged with a double that sent both home. Bohn then laced a single up the middle to drive in Lyle and put the Maroons in double digits for the fifth-consecutive game.
Lawrence got a run across on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth, but UChicago put the game to rest in the seventh. Jancsy followed Hickey's leadoff single with an RBI triple blasted to right center. Lyle then drove a high fly ball into right field, a sacrifice which put the Maroons 10 runs clear of their opponents for a final margin of 12-2.
- Thursday, April 18 @ 1:00 PM - Ripon College at UChicago