Santa Clara Baseball Falls to Illinois-Chicago in Series-Opener

Post game interview with Drew Ozanne

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With the first week jitters out of the way, Santa Clara baseball (2-3) fell to Illinois-Chicago (2-2) by a final of 5-3. The two teams return to the field tomorrow, Sat., Feb. 23 for two games with the first scheduled for 1 p.m.

"It was a good game tonight, a clean game, we just didn't come out on top" said Drew Ozanne. "We played some hard baseball and competed. We've got two more tomorrow so we'll go get them then."

Mike Couch (1-1, 5.14) picked up the loss in his second start of the season for the Broncos and went 7.0 innings while surrendering four runs, three earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.

D. Ozanne continued his hot hitting for Santa Clara by going 2-3 with a RBI while Justin Viele was 2-3 with a triple, a walk and a run scored. Greg Harisis had a RBI in three at-bats with a walk.

Tomas Michelson (2-0, 1.38) started for UIC and threw 5.2 innings while allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits. He fanned four and walked one. Ian Lewandowski (0-0, 0.00) picked up first save of the season by tossing 3.1 scoreless innings in relief. He struck out two and walked one without allowing a hit.

Alex Grunenwald led Illinois-Chicago on offense by going 2-4 with two homeruns, two runs scored and three RBI. Ryan Boss added two hits in four at-bats with a double and a triple. Alex De La Rosa added a RBI in five at-bats out of the leadoff spot.

The Flames jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second on a no-doubt home run to left by Grunenwald after a sharp single up the middle by Harry Kammholz. Couch retired the next two batters but John Coen singled up the middle and moved to second on a passed ball before De La Rosa hit a RBI single to center to make the lead 3-0.

Santa Clara got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single by D. Ozanne. Casey Munoz reached on an error by the shortstop and moved the second on a wild pitch before D. Ozanne knocked him in with a single to left.

Grunenwald hit his second homerun with one down in the top of the fourth to make the score 4-1 Flames.

Viele tripled with one down in the home half of the fifth and cut the Illinois-Chicago lead to 4-2 when he scored on a ground out by Harisis.

Matt Ozanne started the bottom of the sixth with a single and moved to third on a single by Casey Munoz. C.J. Jacobe grounded out to third and M. Ozanne was unable to score but Munoz moved up to second. A passed ball scored a run and moved a runner of third with one out. D. Ozanne was unable to get the run in as he popped out to the infield and Ian Lewandowski came in to face pinch hitter Peter Summerville. Summerville grounded out to third to end the inning with the score 4-3.

Illinois-Chicago was able to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth to make the score 5-3. Joe Betcher singled up the middle and moved to third when Alex Jurich singled to left. John Coen hit a sacrifice fly to right field to pad the lead.

Santa Clara went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to give the Flames the win.

Game Notes: First pitch was 6:01 … Attendance was 741 … Time of game was 2:40 … Harisis saved a run on a beautiful leaping throw behind second base in the top of the first … Kert Woods gunned down a runner trying to score from third on a fly ball in the top of the third … Alex Junich came in to play catcher with two down in the bottom of the sixth … Max Deering came in to pitch in the top of the eighth.