Second-Straight Shutout Helps Milwaukee Earn Series Win
March 23, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Cale Tassi threw 7.0 scoreless innings and freshman Mitch Ghelfi went 5-for-5 to carry the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a 10-0 victory over UIC in game one of a doubleheader Saturday at Les Miller Field.
The Panthers (8-11, 4-2 Horizon League) erased a 5-0 deficit against the Flames (8-11, 3-3 Horizon League) in game two of the doubleheader, but came up just short of sending the game to extra innings when the tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the contest.
"Tassi had a good three-pitch mix going today and sometimes in those situations, when you score early and continue to score, you can lose focus as a pitcher," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "And he didn't, he kept going out there and pounding the zone and putting up zeroes."
Milwaukee still earned the 2-1 series win, with game one resulting in the second-straight shutout for the UWM staff (following a 4-0 win Friday), marking the first back-to-back shutouts for the team since April 5, 2000.
Tassi (2-3) put together his best outing of the season, limiting the Flames to five hits - none until the fourth inning - striking out six while walking a pair. He kept UIC without runners in scoring position most of the day, getting a big strikeout when it had runners on second and third in the fifth inning.
The offense also played a starring role in the contest, scoring the 10 runs on 14 hits. Ghelfi led the way, becoming just the second-ever freshman to record five hits in a game in a 5-for-5 day that included a pair of doubles and a home run.
"And the three-run homer, he hit into a 20-mile-per-hour wind on a 30-degree day," Doffek said. "Just a phenomenal day - basically all of his at bats all day were quality from both sides of the plate."
Sophomore Michael Porcaro was nearly as efficient, going 3-for-3 with a sac fly, reaching base safely four times with a walk while driving in a pair of runs and scoring three times.
The Panthers plated a run in the first and then broke it open with a five-run third inning. Most of the damage came on a three-run home run by Ghelfi, the first of his collegiate career. Junior Sam Koenig also had a big knock, driving in a pair on a bases-loaded double down the left field line.
Senior Drew Pearson rounded out the scoring in the top of the eighth, sending a deep home run to left field that scored two runs to make it 10-0.
In the series finale, UIC jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings and looked like it was going to walk away with it. But, Milwaukee responded, scoring a pair in the fourth on a long home run by Koenig before scratching out three more runs in the seventh to tie the game, 5-5.
"Hats off to Justin Jaquish for doing such a phenomenal job - they did not even hit a ball out of the infield against him," Doffek said. "We beat ourselves a little bit on defense and then made a mental error there at the end. I thought we pulled all of the right strings and their kid just made a phenomenal throw to win a ballgame - you have to give him credit."
Sophomore Justin Jaquish (1-2) suffered the loss despite a fantastic outing in relief. He faced the minimum from the third through eighth innings, ending his day with just one hit allowed in 4.2 innings of work. Tied in the bottom of the eighth, a UWM error allowed the leadoff runner to get all the way to second base. After an intentional walk and a sac bunt, sophomore Joshua Uhen came on in relief to get the second out at home plate.
But, UIC took advantage of a baserunning situation to take the lead. With runners on the corners, the Flames runner at first took off for second. Uhen threw to second, but the runner at third was able to get home with the eventual winning run without a throw.
The Panthers rallied in the ninth, putting runners on first and second for sophomore Derek Peake with two outs. Peake delivered a single up the middle, but a perfect throw from centerfield nailed the runner at the plate to end the game in the 6-5 decision.
The Milwaukee offense was limited to just six hits, with 2-for-4 efforts from Pearson and senior Alex Erdmann leading the way. Ryan Boss led UIC with a 3-for-3 day that included three runs scored and a home run.
Up next, Milwaukee is scheduled to play its home opener Tuesday against Cardinal Stritch. With snow still on the ground at Henry Aaron Field, please check the UWM website for updates as the week progresses.