CHICAGO, Ill. – A four run ninth inning was not enough for Fighting Leatherneck baseball on Sunday (Mar. 31) as the Leathernecks fell to the UIC Flames 6-5 in the series finale. Western falls to 6-17 on the year after the loss.
Western put the first run on the board in the third inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Neil DeCook led off with a bunt single, and then advanced to third on a throwing error. Payton Jeffers then came up and singled up the middle to bring DeCook home. The RBI was the first for Jeffers, who made his first career start in the game.
The Flames would answer with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-1 lead. Alex Grunenwald hit a grand slam for UIC in the inning to put the Flames up.
UIC would add one more run in the sixth inning and take a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning. JP Maestas led the inning off for Western with a walk, and advanced to third on a Matt Risdon single. DeCook, Jeffers and Brent Turner all walked in their plate appearances, scoring Maestas and Risdon.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Zack Burling then came up and hit a two RBI single into center field to tie the game at 5-5.
The Flames would answer in the bottom of the ninth, however, scoring the game winning run after Ty Detmer singled down the left field line.
Brian Loconsole (1-1) was charged with the loss for Western. The senior threw 1.1 innings with one run allowed and two strikeouts.
Riley Perry, Mason Pingel and Sam Welvaert also pitched for the Leathernecks in the game. The four pitchers combined for a season-high 15 strikeouts. Pingel (6) and Welvaert (3) both recorded career highs in strikeouts.
The Leathernecks will be back in action this Tuesday (April 2) in a mid-week game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game will mark the first time that head coach Ryan Brownlee and assistant coach Dusty Napoleon return to Iowa City to face their former team. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.