CHICAGO – In the final home games of their careers with their season on the line, the University of Chicago baseball seniors played crucial roles in a doubleheader sweep of Beloit College on Sunday afternoon.
The Maroons (23-9 overall, 11-5 MWC) finished a perfect 10-0 at J. Kyle Anderson Field this year. The Buccaneers dropped to 16-18 overall (7-9 MWC).
The two wins clinched the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Conference North Division for the Maroons, who will now take part in the Midwest Conference Baseball Championship on May 10-11.
Sunday was also Senior Day for UChicago's nine seniors. The group was honored at the conclusion of the doubleheader on the field with their families. The senior class has a cumulative record of 89-56 (.614 winning percentage), which ties the school record for wins in a four-year period.
GAME 1: UChicago 7, Beloit 6 (11 innings)
In a wild back-and-forth affair, the Maroon bats wouldn't give in as they delivered UChicago a thrilling game one win in extra innings.
Sophomore second baseman James Kelly proved to be the eventual hero with his walk-off RBI single to left center in the bottom of the 11th inning in a contest that featured a whopping seven lead changes. Senior outfielder Josh Parks also delivered in the clucth moment to extend the game, as his single through the right side with two outs in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 6-all and sent it into extras.
The Maroons trailed by one, 6-5, heading into that ninth frame, but senior catcher Ian Bohn continued his stellar offensive day with a single to left field with one out. First-year third baseman Benjamin Rosengard walked to put runners on first and second, and Parks' hit to the right side was just enough to plate pinch runner Cristian Rodriguez, who slid in to beat the tag.
Bohn finished the game a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, as the Maroons tallied 13 total hits, but only one extra-base knock in first-year designated hitter Carson Weekley's (2-for-5) RBI double in the seventh that gave UChicago a 5-4 lead. But the Bucs wouldn't go away, as outfielder Austin DeLaCruz – who made several great plays in the outfield – connected for a two-RBI triple in the eighth that gave Beloit its last lead of the game.
Bohn's RBI single in the first gave UChicago an opening advantage, but Beloit would respond with two runs in the second to make it 2-1 in favor of the visitors. The Maroons would answer in the fourth and fifth inning, respectively, as Parks (RBI groundout) and Bohn (RBI single) switched the lead back to the hosts, 3-2.
Beloit scored two more on a two-RBI single by Jalen Davis in the seventh to regain the lead (4-3) before Weekley's RBI double completed a two-run seventh for UChicago.
Senior starter Brenton Villasenor pitched a solid 6 and 1/3 innings, scattering five hits, striking out six and allowing just two earned runs in his final outing at J. Kyle Anderson Field. Classmate Ravi Bakhai (two strikeouts) and junior Patrick Murphy (two strikeouts, no runs) provided relief and it was sophomore closer David Clarke (2-0) who would earn the win, throwing the final two innings without allowing a hit and striking out one.
GAME 2: UChicago 11, Beloit 6 (8 innings)
With the drama-filled first game stretched out to three hours and 42 minutes, the Maroons had to come right back for game two. Three batters into the contest, Beloit seized a 2-0 edge thanks to a triple and a groundout. The Bucs got one more in the second frame, but UChicago's offense responded in the bottom half with four runs. Three-straight singles loaded the bases with no outs, and Parks delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to deep center field. Senior first baseman Brady Sarkon immediately followed up by smoking a two-run double to deep right center. Hickey's RBI double up the right field line put his team up 4-3.
Plenty of insurance tallies were provided in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to give UChicago its total of 11. The fourth inning appeared to be over on a grounder to third, but a wild throw allowed two runners to come all the way around to score. Weekley delivered an RBI double in the fifth, with Hickey plating one more on an infield single to shortstop.
A throwing error gave Beloit one run back in the sixth, then the Maroons plated three of their own. Weekley and Sarkon recorded RBI singles and Rodriguez laced an RBI double of his own at 11-4.
Tension was reintroduced in the top of the seventh. Beloit loaded the bases thanks to a pair of hit-by-pitches and a walk. Two runs came in on consecutive singles. But junior reliever Arno Curtis struck out one batter looking and induced a weak liner to third base to preserve the lead.
The game was ultimately called after eight innings due to darkness.
Senior pitcher Jacob Petersen got the start and went 2.1 innings, giving way to Chandler Yu. The sophomore earned the win to move to 2-0, with four innings that featured only one hit allowed and two strikeouts. Curtis closed out the final 1.2 innings with two strikeouts.
UChicago racked up 16 hits with one error committed. Sarkon batted 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Weekley and Hickey accumulated three hits and two RBI apiece. Senior second baseman Max Brzostowski and Rosengard had two hits each.
- Tuesday, May 7 @ 6:00 PM - UChicago at University of Illinois-Chicago