Flames baseball sweeps Valparaiso at home

UIC baseball

The team bids farewell to eight graduating players.

The baseball team said goodbye to its eight graduating seniors in style Sunday, moving into sole possession of second place in the Horizon League with a 5-2 win against Valparaiso.

UIC (24-25, 11-10 HL) swept the series against Valpo at Flames Field.

UIC faced a 2-0 deficit after six innings, but plated five unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth frames for the win.

Senior pitcher Tim Suminski was credited with the victory, improving his season record to 3-0.  Senior Ryan Boss piloted UIC at the plate, going 3-for-4. Senior Alex Gruenwald drove in three runs.  Senior Joey Begel came in for the final four outs of the contest and collected his second save of the season.

“I feel really good about the way we are playing right now,” head coach Mike Dee said.  “We’ve been playing consistently better.”

The Flames got rolling in the seventh as Boss led off with a double down the left-field line.  Senior Alex De LaRosa followed with an infield single, pushing Boss to third. Alex Jurich joined them on base after he was walked.  Grunenwald drove in Boss and sent De LaRosa to third.  Senior Joe Betcher followed with a sac fly to plate De LaRosa. Junior John Coen pushed Jurich across the dish with a single down the left-field line to give UIC a 3-2 edge.

After holding Valpo scoreless in the top of the eighth, the Flames rattled off two more scores in the bottom half of the inning.  Grunenwald picked up both RBI as he scored Jurich and junior Josh Nevers on a double to left field.  Grunenwald has scored 42 RBI, leading all Horizon League players.

After the game, eight seniors were honored on the field for their service and commitment to UIC baseball: Joey BegelJoe BetcherRyan Boss, Alex De LaRosa, Alex GrunenwaldHarry KammholzRyan Shober and Tim Suminski.

“I’m really proud of these eight guys and how much they have grown as people,” Dee said.  “I’m excited for their future and I know they will all be successful.”

The team heads to Wright State Thursday for a three-game series.

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