Host UIC and sixth-seeded Youngstown State were victorious on Wednesday on the first day of the 2012 Horizon League Baseball Tournament at Les Miller Field.
UIC defeated fifth-seed Butler, 10-1, in the first game of the day, while sixth-seeded Youngstown State knocked off third-seed Milwaukee, 8-4.
The Flames and the Penguins advance to the winner’s bracket, while Milwaukee and Butler will face each other in an elimination game Thursday at 10 a.m. UIC faces second-seed Wright State at 3 p.m. and Youngstown State and top-seed Valparaiso will wrap the day off with an 8 p.m. contest. All three contests will be streamed on the Horizon League Network at horizonleague.com.
In the first game of the day, fourth-seeded UIC scored five runs in the opening frame and were never threatened in defeating the fifth-seed Butler Bulldogs 10-1.
UIC was led by Joe Betcher and Alex Grunenwald who both drove in three runs. Eighth of the nine Flames in the opening lineup had a hit as UIC finished the game with 12, outhitting the Bulldogs 12-4. Grunenwald had three of UIC’s hits, including a home run, while Betcher and John Coen each had two.
UIC pitcher Joey Begel pitched 7.0 innings of four-hit ball to get the win. Begel allowed only two hits through the first seven innings as UIC opened a 10-0 lead, but gave up two hits at the beginning of the eighth and was pulled. Mike Schoolcraft and Tim Tarter combined for the next six outs without allowing a hit.
In the day’s second game, sixth-seeded Youngstown State knocked off third-seed Milwaukee, 8-4. The Penguins scored two runs in the top of the first to take an early lead, but the Panthers scored two in the third and one in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. YSU took the lead for good in the top of the sixth with three runs and added one run in each of the final three innings to win the game going away.
The Penguins two All-League first team members, Drew Dosch and Jeremy Banks, combined to go 5-for-10 at the plate, driving in five runs and scoring three more themselves. Shortstop Phil Lipari was 2-for-3 at the plate and also made a great leaping grab in the seventh inning to rob the Panthers of a hit that would have scored at least one run. Milwaukee’s Jonathan Capasso (three hits) and Phil Striggow (two hits) were the only Panthers to record multiple hits in the game. Capasso hit what was believed to be a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, which would have brought the Panthers within two runs, 7-5, but as he rounded first he passed Striggow who had stayed near first base to tag in case the YSU right fielder was able to make a leaping catch at the wall. The official ruling allowed Striggow to round the bases and score, but Capasso’s home run was turned into an RBI single and he was out. The Penguins were able to get out of the inning without any further damage and Milwaukee was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the ninth.
Russ Harless was the winning pitcher for YSU after allowing five hits and three runs in six innings of work.
Wednesday, May 23 Results
(4) UIC 10, (5) Butler 1
(6) Youngstown State (8), (3) Milwaukee (4)
Thursday, May 24 Schedule
10 a.m. CT – (5) Butler vs. (3) Milwaukee (Loser is eliminated)
3 p.m. CT – (4) UIC vs. (2) Wright State
8 p.m. CT – (6) Youngstown State vs. (1) Valparaiso
Tags: UIC - Baseball · Youngstown State - Baseball