April 16, 2015

Chicago splits doubleheader with Illinois Wesleyan

After winning in extra innings on Sunday, Chicago entered its doubleheader against No. 8 Illinois Wesleyan (24–6, 3–1) looking to put together a string of wins.

The Maroons seemed poised to do just that, drawing first blood in the second inning. With runners on second and third base, first-year pitcher Molly Moran brought a run home on an RBI groundout. Although Chicago left a runner stranded on third, Moran returned to the mound with a lead.

However, it wasn’t long before Chicago’s advantage disappeared. In the top of the third inning, Moran walked two Titans to put runners on first and second. Despite the early troubles, she recovered to force what should have been a routine ground ball. The defense, however, botched the simple play, allowing two unearned runs.

The mistakes did not stop there. By the end of the inning, another fielding error had given the Titans a 3–1 lead.

Chicago was never able to recover. From there on out, the South Siders managed just five hits. The pitching, meanwhile, surrendered four more runs. By the end of the game, the South Siders were ready to put the 7–1 drubbing behind them.

If there were any signs of resignation after the first match, there was no evidence of it in the second. Despite giving up a run in the top of the third, Chicago countered with a run of its own in the next half of the inning.

The rest of the game proved to be a pitcher’s duel. With each out by Illinois Wesleyan third-year pitcher Jenna Noland, Chicago third-year pitcher Jordan Poole countered with scoreless innings of her own. In the end, it was Noland who was the first to crack.

In the bottom of the fifth, Noland walked the first batter and drilled the second to put runners on first and second. After an out, second-year Maggie O’Hara cracked a double into center field, driving in two runs. Third-year Kathleen Kohm, batting cleanup, singled to left field to give Chicago the 4–1 lead.

From there on out, neither offense was able to tack on any more points. After losing the first game, Chicago had bounced back for the victory.

“The difference maker in this game was that our leaders stepped up. We were all angry with the previous game, but by striving for greatness, we achieved resiliency and victory. I’m honored to fight beside my teammates,” Kohm said.

The home win carries Chicago to 11–13 overall and 2–2 on the home field. However, the Maroons hope to use this win to spark some more victories down the road.

“Hopefully we can take some momentum from beating Illinois Wesleyan as we go on the road the next few games. Whitewater has been our target for a very, very long time and we are ready for the fight,” Kohm said.

Chicago will be in for a tough outing. UW–Whitewater will go into the doubleheader 20–6 and 9–3 in conference. The pair of games will take place on Saturday at UW–Whitewater.  The first game will start at 1 p.m. while the second kicks off at 3 p.m.