RIPON, Wis. – The University of Chicago baseball team dropped the first two games of a weekend series against Midwest Conference North Division opponent Ripon College, losing 5-2 and 3-1 in a road doubleheader on Friday.
The Maroons (13-6, 2-2 MWC North) spread just 12 hits across 18 innings of play as Ripon (13-10, 7-3 MWC North) held off the visitors with consistent pitching and a handful of exceptional plays in the field that thwarted well-struck balls. The Red Hawks tallied 21 hits of their own.
Senior righthander Brenton Villasenor (1-4) had a solid outing going in the first contest, striking out seven in six and two-thirds innings, but was credited with the loss as the Red Hawks eventually knocked out five runs (four earned) on 10 hits. Coming on in relief, junior righty Arno Curtis got four outs without allowing a baserunner, including two strikeouts.
Despite allowing just two runs in his six innings, junior righthander Jacob Petersen (1-1) took the loss in the second game. He conceded eight hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Sophomore reliever Chandler Yu allowed a run and three hits in two innings from the bullpen.
On a mostly quiet day at the plate for the Maroons, first-year third baseman Carson Weekley made some noise with a pair of doubles and a run scored in his three at-bats during the first contest. Senior first baseman Brady Sarkon also went 2-for-3 with a walk in that game.
Game One – Ripon 5, UChicago 2
Ripon started the day's scoring as the hosts loaded up the bases in the bottom of the second inning, bringing one run in on a slow bouncer and another on a wild pitch. UChicago answered immediately in the top of the third after a leadoff single from senior left fielder Josh Parks and Weekley's first double put two men in scoring position with none out. Senior center fielder Connor Hickey drove Parks home with a grounder, after which Weekley scored as sophomore shortstop Brian Lyle put the ball in play with two strikes to tie the game at 2-2.
The Maroons' next chance came with one out in the top of the sixth after a single, error, and walk loaded the bases, but a double-play ball ended the rally before it began. The Red Hawks seized control in the bottom of the frame, stringing together three hits after two quick outs to score twice with the help of two UChicago errors.
Ripon tacked on one more run in the bottom of the seventh, leaving UChicago trailing by three. The Maroons managed to load the bases with two out in the top of the ninth, but no runs would cross as a ground ball at the shortstop brought the game to a close.
Game Two – Ripon 3, UChicago 1
Things were looking up to start the second game as junior right fielder Payton Jancsy slapped a leadoff single past the diving second baseman. After Jancsy stole second, Lyle battled in the box before advancing his teammate with a hard grounder to the right side. That left the leadoff man close enough to score as senior catcher Ian Bohn grounded out to the shortstop, putting UChicago ahead for the first time.
The Red Hawks filled up the bases in the bottom of the first, but a high fly ball to center ended the early threat. Jancsy's hit, however, would turn out to be one of just three for UChicago. Before another Maroon reached base, Ripon plated two runs on a procession of four singles in the bottom of the fourth inning.
First-year second baseman Ben Rosengard laid down a bunt single in the top of the fifth but nothing came of it. The hosts might have added to their lead in the bottom half after back-to-back two-out singles, but a strong throw from Hickey in right-center field cut the batter down as he stretched for a double.
Hickey built on that contribution with a walk and a steal in the top of the sixth, yet once again the Maroon bats had little to offer. On the defensive side, the visitors kept the game close, with Rosengard making a diving catch at second base.
With two out in the top of the seventh, sophomore designated hitter James Kelly got himself on base and Parks pulled a single into right, but a pop fly sent them back to the dugout. Hickey then saw a leaping grab from the shortstop deny his attempt to kickstart the eighth. The Red Hawks drove one more run across in the bottom of that inning, sending a man around to score from first on a double to make it 3-1.
Bohn powered a long fly ball into the left field corner to begin UChicago's final at-bat, but a spectacular diving catch robbed him of a sure double. Sarkon hit the ball almost as hard but directly at the right fielder, after which Rosengard flew out to end the afternoon.
- Saturday, April 20 @ 12:00 PM – Ripon at UChicago (DH)