April 1, 2011

Maroons attempt to right the ship against Lawrence

Baseball makes its home debut this weekend as it hosts Lawrence for a doubleheader this Sunday. The Maroons are aiming to recover from a late loss to Wheaton on Wednesday. Chicago is 6—5 for the season and hoping to carry the momentum from their strong play during the break into the rest of the spring.

Chicago has had a promising start to the spring, and its offense has been clicking. The Maroons have scored no fewer than four runs in any contest this season.

“We’ve been really happy with our spring thus far,” first-year outfielder Brett Huff said. “We hit the ball real well during our trip and were able to score a lot of runs.”

The Southsiders’ Achilles heel thus far this season has been its inability to protect early leads. Though Chicago led 6—4 through six innings on Wednesday against Wheaton, it fell to a late three-run rally after fourth-year starter Dan McConologue exited the game. The Maroons have taken early leads in eight of its eleven contests this season, but have lost three of those games.

“We have definitely seen glimpses of what we are capable of as a team,” second-year outfielder Jack Cinoman said. “Now it is just about being consistent every game. I think the one thing we need to focus more on is keeping our intensity throughout the whole game.”

“We are very good about coming out with energy and jumping on teams in the early innings. We need to be able to carry that mentality over all [seven] innings.”

“We could have easily been 8—2 [after the break],” Huff added.

First-year first baseman Claude Lockhart pointed out that Chicago has had difficulty combining its strong offensive showings with equally strong pitching.

“We’ve done a good job hitting in some games, and pitching in other games,” Lockhart said. “But we have to put those together to be successful in the future. There’s no better opponent to make this step than Lawrence.”

Sunday’s doubleheader against Lawrence indeed presents an excellent opportunity for Chicago to bounce back strong. Last year the Maroons crushed the Vikings 24—6 and 29—3. Cinoman personally accounted for 17 of Chicago’s 53 total runs, driving in 11 and scoring six.

“Last year our bats came alive against Lawrence and we put up big scores in both the games we played,” Cinoman said. “I know they were a very young team last year, so we can’t take them lightly. As long as we come out with similar energy as last year, I have no doubt we will be able to beat them twice again.”

“We’re really looking forward to playing two games at home on our own field against Lawrence,” Huff said. “We want to focus on jumping on them early and scoring a good amount of runs in the early innings. And we hope to have a good showing of fans.”