A pair of five-run frames was more than enough for the Flames as UIC cruised to a 12-3 win over Valpo on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township) raised his season average to .336 with a 3-for-4 game that included a walk. Daniel Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]) and Dustin Beasley (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point [Cisco]) both reached base twice.
UIC got out to a 2-0 lead in the second.
Mickey McDonald sacrificed Jeff Boehm into scoring position after the UIC left fielder singled to lead off the inning. Conor Philbin smacked one of his four singles into left to put runners on the corners with one away. Mahoney made a nice play in a ball in the six-hole off the bat of Alex Lee, but the ground out allowed Boehm to come in from third to give the Flames a 1-0 lead. Catcher Gabe Dwyer lifted a two-out RBI knock to left that plated Philbin and expanded the visitor's advantage.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Jake Dahlberg worked highly-efficient frames in the early going. Mahoney and Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) recorded hits in the home half of the first, but the Crusaders failed to put two aboard in another inning until the seventh.
The Flames saw their lead balloon to 7-0 in the fifth. They used two doubles and three singles to scratch across five against starter Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood). McDonald provided the big blow with a two-run, opposite-field double.
Lundeen allowed seven runs on twelve hits in six innings on the hill. The junior struck out five and walked just one.
Dahlberg ran into a speed bump in the seventh as he issued all four of his walks on the day in the two-run side. Shea Molitor (Plymouth, Minn./West Lutheran [Des Moines Area CC]) and Delaney accepted their free passes before advancing into scoring position following a Beasley single. Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) worked a five-pitch base on ball to force in the first run. Mark Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) trimmed the margin to 7-2 thanks to a sac fly to right that was deep enough for Delaney to tag and score. Dahlberg escaped further damage when he struck out Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) with the bases loaded to quell the threat.
UIC added ample insurance in the ninth, posting five runs, three of which were earned. Zenon Kolakowski and Tyler Detmer both registered two-run hits in the inning.
Valpo squeezed a run across in its final at-bat. Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) notched his first collegiate run batted in with a single up the middle that scored Beasley.
With a weather forecast calling for rain on Sunday, the teams agreed before Friday's game to play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11:00 a.m. Game two will begin approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the first game. RHP Mario Losi (2-1, 5.12) will take the ball in game one with fellow right-hander Ryan Fritze (1-3, 4.66) answering the bell in the second game. Links to the audio and live stats are available at ValpoAthletics.com.