Baseball finishes record-setting season with 11th title
The top-seeded UIC baseball team (29-22-1) battled No. 3 Milwaukee (38-19) Friday in an elimination game at the 2015 Horizon League Tournament, but the Panthers plated two runs in the 12th inning to win, 5-4, ending the Flames’ record-setting season.
UIC picked up its 11th Horizon League Regular Season title during the 2015 campaign and tied a program record for most conference wins with 22. Head coach Mike Dee earned his ninth Coach of the Year honor, while Jeff Boehm and Jake Dahlberg were selected Player and Pitcher of the Year.
Senior Tyler Detmer was named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team. He averaged .571 from the plate during three tournament games and recorded his first career multi-home run performance.
In the top of the 12th inning, UWM’s Mitch Gelfi reached base on a throwing error, then moved to second after Michael Porcaro was hit by a pitch. Eric Solberg advanced both runners one bag with a sac bunt, then a walk to Tell Taylor juiced the bases. Dalton Varsho sent across the first Panther run as he reached base on a fielder’s choice bunt after a failed attempt at home plate. Milwaukee plated Porcaro off a sac bunt to go in front, 5-3.
Alex Lee kept UIC’s rally hopes alive with a leadoff double to right center in the bottom of the 12th frame. Lee moved to third off a groundout from Conor Philbin. Rob Calabrese drove in Lee with an RBI groundout to pull the Flames to within one, but a David Cronin strikeout ended UIC’s comeback.
Detmer paced the Flames, hitting 3-for-4 and adding his 15th double of the season. Lee and Philbin collected two hits each.
Starter Ian Lewandowski lasted 6.1 frames, scattering 11 hits and giving up three earned runs. Jack Andersen (4-6) tossed the final 5.2 innings and was charged with the loss. Andersen allowed three hits and no earned runs and fanned five UWM batters.
The Flames struck first with a lone run in the second inning after Mickey McDonald scored off a wild pitch.
Milwaukee took a brief 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but UIC countered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Boehm singled up the middle to begin the stanza and McDonald reached base off an error. Lee pushed up both runners on a groundout, then Philbin ripped a two RBI single up the middle to give UIC a 3-2 lead.
The Panthers tied the count at 3-3 in the seventh frame after Lewandowski issued a bases-loaded walk.