SPORTS

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May 5, 2009

Pair of come-from-behind wins sends baseball to 3–1 weekend

[img id="77682" align="alignleft"] In a busy weekend homestand that included four games in two days versus the formidable one-two punch of DePauw and Rockford, the Maroons displayed the necessary grit to earn a 3–1 weekend record.

In Saturday afternoon’s opening game, Chicago (17–11) dominated the Tigers (22–19) in a 7–1 blowout. After leading 2–1 halfway through the third inning, the Maroons rode a five-run explosion in the fourth to blow past DePauw for good.

Fourth-year outfielder Travis Blane opened the scoring with a double down the first-base line in the bottom of the second to put the Maroons ahead. The Tigers countered early in the following frame when second baseman Taylor Hoffman doubled to center field to knot the game at one apiece.

After a wild pitch brought a man to third for Chicago in the third inning, fourth-year catcher Scott Hofer hit a sacrifice grounder to give Chicago a 2–1 lead that it would not cede for the rest of the game.

The Chicago fourth started off with a single by second-year outfielder Zach Osman, and things only got worse for the Tigers. The inning, which featured five runs, four hits, and one costly error, was punctuated by a solo blast by first-year catcher Trace Capps that ended up in left-center field.

Third-year pitcher Joe Pankow ran his record to 5–1, posting seven innings of five-hit ball with one run.

The second game, however, gave the Maroons an opportunity to showcase their grit as they orchestrated a 10–6 come-from-behind victory to sweep the Tigers.

The teams scored in bunches, with DePauw tallying five runs in the top of the second to put the Maroons in a hole early in the contest. Later in the frame, Chicago responded with a four-run inning to draw within one.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the sixth and the Maroons still found themselves down one with two innings to go. Then, Chicago put on an offensive display similar to that in their first game, tallying five runs and taking complete control of the game.

With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, fourth-year center fielder Kyle Schmitt knocked in a single to tie the game. Then, with the bases loaded, Hofer blasted a grand-slam shot to put the Maroons up for good.

Hofer, a hero in the first game and a UAA Athlete of the Week honoree, drove in five runs in the Saturday series against DePauw. While the day was not exactly pretty for first-year pitcher Preston Atteberry, who surrendered five earned runs, his performance earned him the victory.

Sunday provided another full day of action for the Maroons at J. Kyle Anderson Field, pitting them against a Rockford squad that boasted an impressive 10–5 away record. Rockford looked to improve that record early on, but Chicago came from behind to win once again.

After a five-run fourth inning for the Regents, the Maroons knew they had to respond. They put together a decisive six-run string of their own while surrendering one run the rest of the way to preserve the 8–6 win.

Despite the fact that the Maroons led the first game 2–0 after three innings, the Rockford fourth put them in a serious hole, with a pair of two-run hits for Rockford.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Maroons evened the score at five-all after third-year shortstop Rob Serpico knocked in a two-run single. Later in the inning, the Maroons took a 6–5 lead when first-year third baseman Stephen Williams came around to score with Serpico getting caught in a rundown.

The come-from-behind victory was Chicago’s seventh in its last 11 games, but as with any deficit, it’s never good to have to fall behind and have to play catch up for the rest of the game, something the Maroons learned in their second Sunday game.

With the Regents giving the Maroons a taste of their own medicine, Chicago fell 13–5 in extra innings to split their Sunday series 1–1.

After going down 3–0 in the top of the first, and 5–1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Maroons scored four runs to send the game to extra innings for the fourth time this season.

The Regents, however, slammed the door for good by stringing together an eight-run eighth to earn them a sizable 13–5 lead.

The Maroons allowed seven hits and committed an error in the inning, and with the offense unable to muster any last-second heroics in the bottom half, Chicago fell 13–5.

The loss was only Chicago’s second in 12 games, a streak dating back to April 8.

The Maroons look to rebound in the comfort of Anderson Field against North Central on Tuesday.