Milwaukee Holds On For 8-7 Victory Over UIC In Opener
May 4, 2012
CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Paul Hoenecke threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end the game and help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team hold on for an 8-7 victory over UIC Friday night at Les Miller Field.
The Panthers (18-24, 11-11 Horizon League) jumped out to a 7-1 lead against the Flames (16-27, 9-13 Horizon League) but needed four pitchers and an alert fielding play by Hoenecke to close out the ninth inning and secure the win.
"That seems to be our mantra this year with the leads that haven't been too comfortable," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "Getting to that point, I thought our hitters did a great job of moving the ball around the field. We got some big hits. Kept the pressure on them and kept tacking on runs and at the end of the game, Hoenecke really makes just a phenomenal play to save the ballgame for us."
Up, 8-4, Milwaukee looked on its way to the easy victory. But, the Flames used four hits and an error to pull within a run at 8-7 and had the tying run at second with two outs. Alex Jurich then hit a slow chopper to third and beat out a low throw at first. Hoenecke dug the ball out of the dirt, quickly grabbed it and fired home to get the runner in a close play at the plate to end the game.
"We have to get to a point where we aren't holding our breath and feel confident and comfortable in that situation," Doffek said. "Any time you can win a game like that, no matter how you do it, hopefully that can start to ease some of the tension."
Junior Eric Semmelhack (4-6) earned the victory with five strong innings of work, allowing two runs - just one earned - on the night. He gave up five hits, walking one and striking out a pair. Senior Jordan Guth ended up coming on for the final out for his fourth save of the year.
Sophomore Sam Koenig went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, freshman Luke Meeteer was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two steals and seniors Paul Hoenecke and Phil Striggow both contributed with 2-for-4 outings. Jon Ryan paced UIC with three hits, including a home run.
The offense gave Semmelhack a 2-0 lead before he even took the mound, scoring both runs with two outs on a double to the wall off the bat of Hoenecke.
"We did that at Iowa the other day too. Just come out and score some runs early and get the momentum in our dugout," Doffek said. "Then Eric did a pretty good job of not putting up any crooked numbers."
The team just kept tacking on from there, scoring another in the third and two more runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to jump ahead, 7-1, by the middle of the fifth.
Koenig singled in a run in the third and then doubled in a run the next inning. Sophomore Tell Taylor also added a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring in the fourth.
In the fifth inning, junior Will Fadness and Striggow each had RBI-singles.
Sophomore Ryan Solberg added a sac fly in the eighth to round out the Milwaukee scoring, proving to be a crucial insurance run at the end of the night.
These two teams will return to action tomorrow, back under the lights with a 6:05 p.m. start.