The Ill.-Chicago Flames (4) leapt to a three-run lead in the first inning against the Valparaiso Crusaders (1) and did no look back, winning their second game of the day and forcing a rematch for the Horizon League Championship on Sunday.
The Flames played against the Youngstown St. Penguins (6) for a matinee game and dominated the No. 6 seed team for a 5-0 win. SP Tim Suminski pitched a complete game for the Flames, despite striking out only 3 batters while walking 2 and hitting 1. The Flames offense clobbered their way through the Penguins pitching staff as RF Jon Ryan (2 for 4, 1HR) and CF Nick Addison (3 for 4, 1 triple) led the Flames in a steady attack.
UIC vs. Youngstown State: game stats
UIC vs. Valparaiso: game stats
Against Valparaiso, the trio of SP Mike Schoolcraft, RP Tim Tartar and RP Chris Hoffman combined to hold the Crusaders to 2 ER and 1 un-earned run -- again despite a bad strikeout-to-walk ratio (1 K, 3 BB). The heart of the Flames lineup proved deadly as 3B Joe Betcher (2 for 4, 1 HR and 1 double) and 1B Alex Grunenwald (1 for 3, 1 double and 1 sac hit) led the team to an upset victory.
UIC and Valparaiso will play for the Horizon League championship on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CDT.
For more on the 2012 Horizon League Baseball Tournament, keep it locked to SB Nation Chicago.