Week Three (3/5-3/7): vs. The Illinois-Chicago Chicago Fire of the MLS
Friday @ 4:30pm CT on SECN+
Saturday @ 2:00pm CT on SECN+
Sunday @ 1:00pm CT on SECN+
2020 Record: 4-12. Yes the UIC Chicago Fire of the MLS (managed by former Beastie Boy Mike Dee) flamed out last year, but at least they challenged themselves. The main reason they lost so many games was they opened the season with a 4 game set at Auburn followed by a 3 game series at Vanderbilt. It should shock no one that a mid-major team like UIC would be swept in both and begin the year 0-7. Of course, they continued to get pasted by the likes of UC Santa Barbara and Northwestern, and were 0-11 before a 6-1 victory over St. Bonaventure (no, we didn’t know they played anything other than shooty hoops, either) finally got them into the win column.
2021 Record: 1-2. UIC has only played one series thus far—February 19th and 20th (DH) at Florida International. They lost the first game 9-4, played them tighter in game 2 (a 4-3 loss in extras), and then broke through with a 5 run 8th inning to record a 10-6 win on the back end of the double header. Not much more I can tell you without screaming SMALL SAMPLE SIZE. However, if you take it in context with their 2020 record, anything short of sweeping them this weekend will be quite the disappointment for the Diamond Dores.
Player to Watch: When your best hitter only went .254/.302/.322 on the season, the correct answer is no one. Still, I’m going to give the nod to the guy whose name I remember most from last year’s series: #13 Sr. SS Ryan Lin-Peistrup. He’s a four year starter at short, and is clearly their best defender. At the plate he hit juuuuuuuust north of the Mendoza line, but again, on this team, that’s good enough to be the 4th best hitter for average amongst the starters.
Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Player: #11 RS Sr. C Joshua “Nelson” Figueroa (.429/.429/.500).
I’d also keep my eye on #16 UTL Thomas “Maxwell” Smart, as he is the first player I’ve ever seen whose class is listed simply as “Graduate Student,” and has a shoe that is also a phone.
Also, pay attention to #10 INF Matt “The Surgeon” Bottcher (.385/.467/.538), who is also listed as a Graduate Student (this must be a UIC thing), as he recently won a leg lamp from the Horizon League.
Congrats to our guy @MattBottcher on earning the first #HLBASE Batter of the Week honor this season!— UIC Baseball ⚾️ (@UIC_Baseball) February 24, 2021
➡️ https://t.co/rzq2ed0Vni#FireUpFlames pic.twitter.com/OdrrMM5Mtm
Confidence Level: High.
Your Diamond Dores Weekend Rotation:
Vanderbilt’s weekend rotation for their series against UIC:— Max Herz (@MaxHerzTalks) March 4, 2021
Fri 4:30, Thomas Schultz
Sat 2:00, Kumar Rocker
Sun 1:00, Jack Leiter
Puts them on track to return to the expected Plan A of Rocker, Leiter, Schultz for the final non-conference series next week at Oklahoma State
UIC started #33 Jacob “Keegan Michael” Key (0-0; 3.00 ERA), #50 Ryan “Not the Hockey Player” O’Reilly (0-0; 10.13 ERA), and #36 Tanner “I Cut the Leather” Shears (0-1; 135.00 ERA) against Florida International.
Shears was their Friday starter. He lasted only 1⁄3 of an inning and gave up 5 runs.
See you in the comments.
*Will update when lineups go live.