UIC scored two unearned runs
on Sunday afternoon, including one in the 10th inning that proved to
be the difference, as the Flames defeated Valparaiso
2-1 at Emory G. Bauer Field to wrap up the 2009 regular season for both
With the loss, Valparaiso
(27-22, 12-11 Horizon) finishes in fourth place in the Horizon League and will
face fifth-seeded Cleveland State (20-23, 12-13) on Wednesday morning at 10
a.m. CDT in the Horizon League Tournament in Lorain, Ohio.
UIC (26-21, 17-6), the
Horizon League’s regular season champion, found the scoreboard first in the
second inning. With two outs, Andy
Leonard walked, and came around to score on Tony Altavilla’s infield single
when the attempt to throw Leonard out at third sailed wide.
Valpo tied the game with a
run in the fourth. Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly
H.S.) led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza
H.S.). Matt Lenski (Milwaukee,
Wis./Marquette University H.S.)
followed with a run-scoring double to the gap in left-center.
Crusaders hurlers kept the
Flames off the board into the ninth when Valpo had a chance to win the
game. Lenski led off with a double and
moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Josh
Ohio/Bellefountaine H.S.). Despite two intentional walks loading the
bases, a foulout and groundout ended the threat.
The Flames won the game in
the 10th inning. A lead-off
walk and a fielding error on a sacrifice bunt put two runners on and another
sacrifice bunt moved them to second and third.
The Crusaders caught the runner on third trying to steal home on a
squeeze attempt, but Brandon Harwell followed with a two-out single up the
The Crusaders put the tying
run on base in the bottom of the inning, but a double play ended the game.
“We didn’t execute when we
needed to today,” head coach Tracy
Woodson said. “We had our
chances. We pitched well enough to win.”
DeBruin and Lenski each had
two hits for the Crusaders as the Brown and Gold tallied just five on the
afternoon. Eight Valpo pitchers combined
to limit the Flames to just four hits, but allowed the two unearned runs. Austen
Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) suffered the loss
(0-2) while Derrick Miramontes earned the win (6-0) for UIC out of the bullpen.
Valpo now heads to the double
elimination tournament that runs Tuesday through Sunday at The Pipe Yard in Lorain, Ohio
as the number four seed. Every game of
the Crusaders’ run in the tournament will broadcast live on the internet
through sportsjuice.com at www.valpoathletics.com.