Weekend ends in a split for UIS baseball

Brittany Henderson

UIS baseball players group together between games for a moment of team support.

The Stars hosted the Parkside Rangers in a two-day doubleheader last weekend, winning their first game on both days before losing their second.

Friday afternoon’s opening game ended as a relatively low scoring affair, with UIS taking the win 3-1.

The game was highlighted by a solid performance from freshman David Mead, who pitched the first full game of his career. Crisp, clean fielding backed him up. Mead allowed six hits in nine innings with five strikeouts, putting his season total to 35.

During Friday’s second game, the Stars came out looking like a completely different team. The Rangers came out of the gates swinging, putting UIS at an early disadvantage. The Rangers continued to pile up runs, taking a 6-0 lead going into the seventh, and final inning.

The Prairie Stars found new energy in the seventh, but it was only enough to score two runs, making the final score 2-6, Rangers.

Friday’s win one; lose one pattern continued into Saturday, as the Stars opened with a huge five-run first inning. After taking the early lead, it eventually caught up with them after a fourth-inning error – helping the Rangers score four runs, cutting the lead to two after UIS’ one run in the third inning.

In the final inning, Parkside made it a 6-6 tie, giving UIS just one more chance to end it in regulation.

With two outs, two strikes, and a man on second, senior Adam Unes stepped up to the plate and delivered a walk-off RBI double to seal the deal. Unes said, ”It was pretty exciting, you always dream about having an opportunity to do something like that.” Again, with their backs to the wall, the Stars managed to answer and come out with the win.

The Stars did not align in Saturday’s next game, leaving UIS with an 11-8 loss. Parkside took a 2-0 lead early, but then the Stars’ batters came to play, as senior Blake Baker got them on the board with a leadoff homer in the fourth. The score was tied going into the sixth, but it turned out to be a monster inning for UIS.

With two outs and runners in scoring position, Nick Sanders blasted a home run into left, which was followed by a Lance LeBaron home run, capping off what would be a five-run inning. The defense fell apart in the next inning, allowing Parkside to cash in five runs of their own, due to several fielding errors for the Stars, including a missed opportunity for an inning-ending double play.

The eighth ended in a push, and Parkside capitalized on another couple of errors in the ninth to extend the lead to 11-8, and UIS could not answer.

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