Solberg Blasts Panthers To Extra-Inning Victory
March 30, 2014
CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Ryan Solberg hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a thrilling come-from-behind 10-8 victory Sunday afternoon at Granderson Stadium.
The Panthers (5-12, 1-2 Horizon League) trailed by two runs heading into their final at bat against the Flames (8-13, 4-5 Horizon League) but tied it in the ninth inning before claiming the walkoff win in the 11th.
"It was a great team win," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "Ryan is going to get the credit for hitting the home run - and he should - but if you look at that game, we got off to a good start and then gave up the lead. And then we gave the ball to Tyler Thicke and he just did a great job of holding them down and giving us an opportunity. Our hitters did a good job of chipping away and getting runners on and then Solberg hits the big walk-off home run."
Solberg was responsible for tying the contest as well, as his sacrifice fly in the ninth made it 8-8 at the time and forced extra innings. He then stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on base in the 11th and promptly launched a deep home run over the bullpen in left field, setting off a joyous UWM celebration at the plate.
The Panthers had rallied with their backs to the wall in the ninth. Back-to-back singles by juniors Derek Peake and Mike Porcaro started the frame and, after a run-scoring single to left field by senior Pat Wilson, the stage was set for Solberg to tie the game with a sac fly to deep center field.
Solberg finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Sophomore Mitch Ghelfi went 3-for-5 and scored twice, with Porcaro and Wilson each recording two hits apiece.
The home run made a winner out of junior Tell Taylor (1-0), who worked a scoreless frame. He relieved senior Tyler Thicke, who did an incredible job to keep Milwaukee in the contest. Thicke gave up just one run in 5.2 innings of relief, striking out five while not walking a batter.
"We didn't want to come down here and lose the series, but there are some positives out of the weekend," Doffek said. "We had some guys come out of the bullpen and throw the ball really well. We made nine errors the first game and zero in 20 innings today, so I was encouraged by that. We need to play. The schedule and the weather have not been on our side. Hopefully that has turned to our side and we catch a few breaks here and there."
Milwaukee had jumped out to a 6-2 lead after three innings in the contest, only to see the Flames respond with six unanswered runs of their own in the fourth through sixth innings to forge ahead.
Down, 1-0, after the top of the first, UWM quickly made it a new game on a double off the bat of Ghelfi. They added to the lead in the second, plating a pair of runs on a two-out, two-strike, double down the left field line by Porcaro.
UIC got one back in the top of the third, but the Panthers responded with a three-run rally of their own to seemingly take control, getting two sac flies and another on an RBI-single by junior Ryan McShane to take a 6-2 advantage at the time.
Flames starter Ian Lewandowski really settled in after that, allowing just one hit and no runs over his final four innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Panthers staged another ninth-inning rally, but could only break up the shutout in a 10-4 decision.
Shutout until the ninth, UWM scored once on an error and three more times on Solberg's second home run of the day to round out the scoring in the contest.
UIC starter Jack Anderson threw well, using 86 pitches to get through eight shutout frames. He did not allow a walk, gave up just four hits and struck out three.
"First of all, their kid did a great job on the mound - he really pitched well," Doffek said. "But, we just didn't compete on the mound. We didn't give ourselves the opportunity to be in position to win that game. We got a little flat towards the middle of the game and it was their pitcher controlling the tempo and you have to give him credit."
The Panthers managed seven hits in game two, with sophomore Nick Unes going 2-for-4. Sophomore Dan Barwick also added a hit in his only at bat. Junior Eric King pitched well, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out two and walking none.
Up next, it's a return trip to Chicago, this time to take on Chicago State Tuesday. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.