Baseball battles conference foes
After hosting back-to-back doubleheaders the weekend before, the University of Indianapolis baseball team hit the road for a four-game series against McKendree University April 11-12, splitting the first day of competition but sweeping the second.
In the first day of action, the Greyhounds let go of a 3-0 lead, losing by a final score of 8-4. The Greyhounds allowed three runs in the sixth and five runs in the eighth, which led to the loss. In the second game, UIndy bounced back in commanding fashion, claiming a lopsided 7-1 victory.
The Greyhounds carried over the momentum from their victory the day before, winning both games on the second day with lopsided finishes. The Greyhounds claimed the first game with a 7-1 rout, while claiming the second with a total score of 16-7. The 16 runs in its second victory of the day was the highest run total in a game by UIndy all season long.
During the weekend before, the Greyhounds hosted the conference rival Lewis University Flyers April 5-6, winning three contests in the four-game series.
Headed into the matchup against the Flyers, senior shortstop Jake Weinzapfel said that both teams recognized what the other was capable of, despite the emotions associated with a rivalry.
“There is a lot of respect between both teams, but not a lot of love,” Weinzapfel said.
The series began with a competitive start, as the Greyhounds fell in the first game on April 5 by just one run, 6-5. After the close loss, the Greyhounds rebounded in the second game in statistically dominant fashion, winning by a lopsided score of 10-3.
On the second day of action, the Greyhounds continued right where they left off the day before, claiming a shutout win by a score of 4-0. The series would end the same way it started, however, as the Greyhounds edged out the Flyers by a score of 9-8. The Greyhounds finished the slim victory by scoring seven runs during the bottom of the ninth inning, which completed the comeback after trailing 8-2.
UIndy made the trek north to Rensselaer, Ind., on April 1, less than 24 hours after a four-game series with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, to face off in a two-game battle against the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas. The Greyhounds emerged victorious after 17 hits in the first game, winning 11-10, and closed the second game out at Gil Hodges Field 6-3.
“The Saint Joseph’s wins were unbelievable. I think the guys had a lot of fun,” said Head Baseball Coach Gary Vaught. “It is a job at our level, and I think we have really been working hard and having a lot more success as of late as a result.”
UIndy was on the board first at the top of the second inning, putting up four runs. Junior infielder Kenny Mahala sent a two-run hit over the right field fence, which was his second home run of the season. Junior infielder Luke Andrade delivered a base hit, and junior outfielder Sean McCracken created an RBI-triple and then scored on a ground out by Weinzapfel.
The Pumas battled back, scoring four runs of their own during the bottom of the second. The Pumas’ first five batters were allowed to reach base safely, delivering three RBI-singles and a sacrifice fly ball to tie the game at 4. The Pumas then clinched their first lead of the game in the third with an RBI single.
The Pumas and Greyhounds met a standstill until the fifth, when the Greyhounds managed to seize the lead, batting in three runs at the top of the inning. Saint Joseph’s fired back, tying the game with a couple of runs in the bottom of the inning, making the score 7-7.
The Greyhounds methodically obtained a run in the eighth inning to regain the lead. Soon after reaching for a single, sophomore second baseman Anthony Asalon advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by redshirt sophomore catcher Alex Ritchie. Senior first baseman Dan Eliopulos then delivered a drive to right field, sending Ritchie to home plate and putting UIndy ahead 8-7.
McCracken, Weinzapfel and Asalon picked up three more runs at the top of the ninth, extending UIndy’s lead to four runs. The Pumas mustered an attempted comeback during the bottom of the inning, bringing the deficit within one point at 11-10. With the Pumas in position to finish the comeback, junior pitcher Harry Doherty stopped it by striking out freshman infielder Joshua Handzik.
In the second game, the Greyhounds quickly took a 1-0 lead with two stolen bases and a run by Weinzapfel at the top of the first.
UIndy put up two more runs in the second, with a center field single from Weinzapfel, cashing in on his first of three RBIs during the game.
The Pumas scored twice in the fifth and again in the sixth, making the score 4-3 heading into the final inning. The Greyhounds held on for the victory, however, adding two more runs and keeping the Pumas scoreless.
The Greyhounds will return to action this afternoon at home, when they face the Pumas once again in a doubleheader. The first game is set to begin at 2 p.m., with the second scheduled to follow immediately afterward at 5 p.m.