Baseball splits doubleheader at Wheaton

Baseball splits doubleheader at Wheaton

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Eric Gilbert

As the heart of a particularly tough conference schedule approaches, the Illinois University men’s baseball team seems to be finding its rhythm. Coming into the week with a perfect record in the CCIW certainly placed a target on Titan players, but it’s safe to say they rose to the occasion.

It started with a 3-0 victory over talented Wheaton College squad this past Friday, April 4. Senior pre-season All American Jeffrey Johnson earned the win on the mound, striking out 10 batters and allowing only two hits. It was a defensive battle in favor of the Titans who only scored three but came up clutch in important situations.

Sophomore Tim Coonan scored on a senior Bobby Czarnowski sacrifice fly, while senior outfielder Jon Frericks was credited for the final run on a single to center. Due to poor weather conditions, Horenberger field was deemed unplayable, forcing the Titans to stay in Wheaton for the latter two games of the series. The bats were alive on both ends in game one as the two teams combined for 34 hits.

Six singles in the third inning from six different players put the Titans up 7-0. Wheaton rallied, eventually trailing by just one in the ninth. Fortunately, senior relief pitcher John Munyon continued to shine, earning his fourth save on the campaign and eighth of his career.

Game two took a 360 turn as the Thunder slipped away with a 1-0 victory. Starting pitcher Trey Martin limited the Titans to only two hits on his way to striking out 13 and only walking two. Wheaton scored their lone run in the eighth inning to seal the victory.

“Credit to Martin on his performance. He was throwing well and we were certainly struggling to find ourselves offensively. That being said, were extremely happy about winning the series and the direction that were going in,” said first-year catcher Patrick Mollo.

After playing nearly half a season the Titans finally were able to play a home game on Tuesday. They probably couldn’t have asked for a better first game to play at Horenberger field as head coach Dennis Martel earned his 700th career coaching victory; which is a truly remarkable accomplishment.

In Martel’s 27th season as head coach he has compiled a record of 700-425-3. He is the 25th NCAA Division III coach to reach 700 wins. The Titans broke open a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to secure the 9-2 blowout. Senior shortstop Derek Idstein had four hits, while Czarnowski and Coonan each added two. First-year Jonathan Vlk received his second win on the season, propelling the Titans to a 7-1 CCIW conference record.