DE PERE, Wis. – The University of Chicago baseball team took two key games from St. Norbert College to keep pace in the Midwest Conference playoff hunt, picking up 3-1 and 9-3 wins in a Sunday afternoon doubleheader. The visitors split the four-game season series with the Green Knights, who had begun the day atop the North Division standings.
Seven shutout innings from first-year hurler Kyle Petri (6-0 record) carried the Maroons (20-8 overall, 8-4 MWC North) to victory in the opener. St. Norbert (15-16, 10-6 MWC North) captured an early lead in the second contest, but an explosion of extra-base hits in the fourth inning swung the game with seven runs for UChicago and senior reliever Joe Liberman (4-0) clamped down the rest of the way for a well-earned decision.
Offensive contributions came from all over the batting order, with five different players driving in multiple runs. At designated hitter, first-year Carson Weekley went a total of 3-for-5 with a triple and a double, scoring three runs on the afternoon. First-year third baseman Benjamin Rosengard made the most of his four trips to the plate in the first game with a hit, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Senior first baseman Brady Sarkon proved efficient in the second contest with two walks and a two-run double.
Petri conceded just four hits while striking out six to start the day. Senior reliever Ravi Bakhai pitched a clean eighth inning and sophomore closer David Clarke earned his fourth save after entering during the ninth. After junior starter Jacob Petersen threw three innings to open the second game, Liberman scattered six hits across 5.1 innings, striking out four before a lone run slipped across at the end of his outing.
A four-game divisional series against Beloit College (13-15, 4-6 MWC North) scheduled for next weekend will determine whether UChicago earns a berth in the conference tournament.
Game One – UChicago 3, St. Norbert 1
Petri set the tone in the top of the first, striking out the first two batters he faced. The Maroons gave him some support in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff single from Rosengard, sophomore second baseman James Kelly bunted him into scoring position. Coming to the plate with two outs, senior left fielder Josh Parks drove Rosengard in with a single to put his team on the board first.
UChicago tacked on another in the third inning as sophomore shortstop Brian Lyle singled, stole second, then advanced to third on a base knock from junior right fielder Payton Jancsy. Rosengard got the ball up and out of the infield, allowing Lyle to come home.
Neither offense threatened much over the middle innings, although Lyle was stranded not far away in the sixth after scrambling to third with none out. The seventh inning brought a better outcome as Weekley laced a double, moved up to third on a grounder and raced in to score on a passed ball.
A leadoff double gave the Green Knights a brief glimpse of a ninth-inning rally, but Clarke took the mound and defused the situation.
Game Two – UChicago 9, St. Norbert 3
The Maroons struck first again as Lyle and Jancsy singled in the opening frame of the second contest. With runners on the corners, Rosengard put the ball in play and Lyle was able to scoot home.
St. Norbert's dormant bats stirred in the second inning, once more capitalizing on a leadoff double. A pair of singles split by a walk in the third put another across, giving the Green Knights their first lead of the day.
The 2-1 margin would not last long as UChicago batted around in the bottom of the fourth. Jancsy got things rolling with a walk, after which Rosengard doubled to place both in scoring position. A strikeout barely slowed the momentum as Sarkon knocked them both in with a double, then came around himself when Parks followed up with a double of his own. Parks then moved up to third as Weekley walked and first-year catcher Brett Riegler bunted him to second. This set the stage for another two-run double courtesy of senior center fielder Connor Hickey. A pitching change was of no avail as Lyle promptly walked. Jancsy then cleared the bases with a triple that made it 8-2 in favor of the Maroons.
Having entered with his team trailing, Liberman found himself working with a healthy lead and kept a lid on the Green Knights over the next several innings. In the sixth, Weekley added one more to the cushion, leading off with a triple and scoring on Riegler's sacrifice fly. St. Norbert got one back in the ninth as the leadoff man scored from first after a wild sequence involving two errors, but did no more damage as junior righthander Patrick Murphy entered with runners on first and second and got the last two outs.
- Wednesday, May 1 @ 6:00 PM – UChicago at Edgewood College