Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

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UIS Baseball Hits a Weekend Showdown

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Contributors: Gianna Wolanin

A fan of UIS baseball would be hard pressed to find a performance better than game one of the four game series between UIS and McKendree University on Friday, March 22. Exploding for 10 runs in the first inning, the Prairie Stars got the lead and were uncontested for all seven innings thanks to a complete game shut-out from ‘Stars pitcher Gavin Wahlbrink. Notching career highs with seven innings pitched and 10 strikeouts, bringing his record to 4-1 for the season with an earned run average just over four. On the other side of things, Clark Morgan led the offense, going 2-4 with a double and driving in four RBIs –. Jacyk Uehling was right behind him, going 3-4 with two  and scoring two runs of his own. UIS split the Saturday double-header, losing both the first and second game of the series.

 

The Prairie Stars fell victim to a McKendree power surge propelled by two home runs and four doubles in game one, but managed to bounce back in game two of the double header. Backed by another solid pitching performance, UIS once again showed their offensive might going on to gut McKendree 11-1. McKendree’s first and only run of the game would come in the first inning after a leadoff double, and some small ball to get him home. UIS pitcher Riley Moran settled in shortly thereafter, shutting down the McKendree offense for the rest of the day as that leadoff double would be their only hit. Moran was dominant, striking out seven over seven innings while not walking a single batter. He was backed by good defense, too, and got some help from third baseman Johnny Wendling on a diving play to catch an attempted bunt that popped up in foul territory in front of the visitor’s dugout. One cannot talk about the stellar pitching and defense without mentioning the offense. Nick Melvin and  (candidate for one of the best baseball names ever) Johnny Colombo, had identical stat lines going 2-4 and scoring twice. Mark Katulla also went 2-4, driving in two runs, and Mack Clark drove in two runs, one of which came from a ball he hammered over the right field fence for a home run.

 

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A nine-inning game four would slide McKendree’s way, as they topped UIS 6-3. After scoring one run in the first, UIS would come back to take the lead in the third inning thanks to an RBI-single from Mark Katulla and another two-run home run from Mack Clark. After going up 3-1 in the third, UIS would not be able to capitalize on anything else as McKendree held them scoreless for the remaining six innings. In the top of the fifth, McKendree scored three thanks to an RBI-double and an error that led to two runs scored. The 4-3 lead was all they needed, and after McKendree got another insurance run in the sixth, they got one more run in the ninth inning from a home run to center field. After splitting the difference over the weekend, it brought their record to 14-11, and the record at home to 7-4.

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