The UChicago baseball team had a strong weekend, sweeping their three home games against University of Wisconsin–Superior and raising their record to 11–4. The team is now tied for second in the UAA by winning percentage, but doesn’t actually have a place in the standings as they have yet to play any conference games.
The Maroons’ first game on Saturday was a pleasant 4–1 affair. Second-year starter Brenton Villasenor tossed an effective eight innings, only allowing one run and seven hits while striking out three batters. Although he allowed his lone run in the first, the offense showed up in support of the hurler, manufacturing a couple of runs to take the lead before second-year left fielder Josh Parks crushed a two-run dinger. First-year Arno Curtis was brought on to close the game out and did just that, striking out the side to earn his first save of the season.
The next day saw Chicago face the Yellowjackets twice more. The first game was a tight one. The Maroons scored in the first after second-year center fielder Connor Hickey singled, stole second, and scored on a single by fourth-year third baseman Thomas Prescott. While the UChicago bats were held silent for the rest of the game, the pitching staff had their back. Second-year Joe Liberman went six innings without giving up a run and only surrendered two hits before first-year Nate Hendley came in to close it out in the seventh, as games in doubleheaders only go seven innings.
The second game saw the same quality run prevention paired with a much livelier offensive performance. First-year pitcher Jacob Petersen threw six shutout innings while striking out five before turning the ball over to third-year Ricardo Fernandez to close the door. The offense provided plenty of support as third-year Maximiliano Larsen knocked a pair of doubles while Parks drove in another couple of runs and the Maroons cruised to a 6–0 victory.
The pitching was the story of the weekend as the staff surrendered a lone run over 23 innings. “Coming into this weekend I know the staff had a point to prove,” Parks said of the group’s performance. “I felt like Brent [Villasenor] really set the tone for us this weekend on Saturday night. We felt that energy carry over into Sunday with Liberman and Peterson putting on incredible performances in our first action at home.”
The Maroons have now won six games in a row and nine of their last 11. Their success this season has mainly come due to the offense, but the recent pitching performance has the team feeling very good about itself at this point in the year.
“This team has a different mindset in the sense that we know what we are capable of and we’re not shy about talking about our goals,” Parks said. “We want to be playing in the tournament in late May and that means everyone pulling on the same rope, every day, every practice, every game. This weekend was another step in that direction and we’re looking forward to getting back out there on Saturday.”