Long Tosses 4-0 Shutout Against Flames In Series Opener
March 22, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Jake Long threw a four-hit shutout to lead the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to an impressive 4-0 victory over UIC Friday afternoon at Les Miller Field.
The Panthers (7-10, 3-1 Horizon League) took the opener in the weekend series against the Flames (7-10, 2-2 Horizon League), with Long becoming the first UWM pitcher to throw back-to-back complete games in almost six years.
"Jake did a great job," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "It was a tough day to hit, but it was also a tough day to have a real feel for your pitches. I thought he battled through that and just kept putting the ball in play. We made routine plays behind him and made a couple of extra-effort plays too. He made some big pitches when he needed to."
Long (2-2) gave up just a pair of hits prior to the ninth inning, ending the game with five strikeouts and three walks. He got out of trouble when needed, including in the ninth when UIC rallied to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. Long becomes the first pitcher with back-to-back complete games since Robert Michalkiewicz in April of 2007 and extended his streak to 17.0 scoreless innings in the process.
"He's going to give you an opportunity to win because he pounds the strike zone," Doffek said. "So, more than anything, I think it's just opportunity [for his success in 2013]. He's fought through a ton of injuries and I could not be happier for anyone than to see him have a great senior year like he is."
Up 2-0 after a pair of UIC miscues in the field helped plate some runs, sophomore Derek Peake doubled the lead in the sixth inning, sending a clutch two-out single into left center to plate junior Sam Koenig and senior Drew Pearson, who had both singled. That made it 4-0 and gave Milwaukee and Long all the momentum they would need.
"They did make a couple of errors and gave us a couple of runs, but what was the difference? We put the ball in play," Doffek said. "And when you put the ball in play, you continually keep pressure on the defense. And that's a good defensive team - that is not going to happen too often."
UIC had runners on first and second in the fifth inning after an error and a walk, but Long got out of that jam by inducing a fly ball to right field and a force out at second on a nice play by sophomore Michael Porcaro.
Long retired the first six batters of the game before allowing a leadoff single in the third. After a steal and a sac bunt, UIC threatened to tie. Long followed up with a strikeout and a popup into foul territory to keep it 1-0 at the time.
Milwaukee's first two runs were of the unearned variety. Koenig laced a two-out double to the wall in left center and then scored after Pearson reached on an error in the infield.
It was a two-out rally again in the fourth as well. Junior Ryan Solberg walked, stole second and then scored on another Pearson ground ball that got past the second baseman and into right field.
Koenig (2-for-3, 2 runs), Pearson (2-for-4, run) and senior Will Fadness (2-for-5, 2 steals) all recorded multi-hit games to lead the offense. Alex Jurich (2-for-2, walk) led UIC.
The two teams wrap up the series with a doubleheader tomorrow, set for a 12:05 p.m. start time for game one at Les Miller Field.