Baseball ends season this week at No. 2 tourney spot

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Mickey McDonald winds up for a pitch. Photo: Timothy Nguyen

The baseball team (23-22, 16-11 Horizon League) clinched second place in the regular season and the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament with an 8-2 series finale win Sunday at Youngstown State.

The Flames host Oakland in a three-game series beginning at 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Curtis Granderson Stadium to finish the regular season. Horizon League Tournament play is scheduled to begin May 21.

The Flames’ bullpen limited Youngstown State to four hits and one earned run Sunday as sophomore pitcher Jack Andersen was credited with the win, improving to 3-3 on the season.

With UIC in front 3-2 after seven frames, the Flames plated five runs in the final two innings to seal their last league road game of the year.

UIC has finished first or second in conference play in 13 of the last 15 years, the most of any Horizon League program.

“I am very proud of this group,” head coach Mike Dee said. “To finish second in this competitive conference is impressive considering that we started 0-4 to begin league play, suffered some key injuries on the mound and have five first-year starters in our lineup. Now we need to continue to stay focused, finish the season strong and enter the tournament with some momentum.”

The Penguins jumped out in front with a lone run in the first inning, after a sac fly by Matt Sullivan.

The Flames tied it up in the third on RBI-single from freshman Mickey McDonald, then took the lead for good after a two-RBI single from redshirt junior Zenon Kolakowski in the fourth frame.  Both McDonald and Kolakowski finished the day with two hits and two RBI.

Youngstown State pulled to within one in the bottom of the seventh as they plated a runner off a sac fly.

UIC scored five times and put the contest out of reach in the final two innings. Redshirt sophomore Conor Philbin posted his eighth double of the season in the eighth inning as he sent Tyler Detmer and Jeff Boehm across home plate.

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