Titan baseball wins one and loses two against North Park

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 7, 2023

12-2 Victory over North Park University (6-14) on Saturday, April 1. 

The cold wind of Chicago blew the Illinois Wesleyan University baseball team in the right direction as they broke their five-game losing skid. 

Even before sophomore pitcher Dalen Banks began dominating on the bump, the Titan offense spotted him with three runs. 

A triplet of singles and a double in the top half of the first inning allowed three base runners to cross the plate and set the stage for the Banks show. 

Banks allowed only one hit through the first three innings of the game as he retired eight straight batters. 

“I just threw strikes on a cold day,” Banks said. “Hitters usually don’t want to swing a bat when it’s freezing outside, so I used that to my advantage.”

A double to right-center field by sophomore outfielder Tristan Figus sparked a five-run rally by the Titans in the top of the fourth inning. Shortly after senior Ethan Burgh tripled to bring in two runs and the Titans were up 8-0 at the end of the top of the fourth. 

Despite a shaky start in the bottom half of the inning as two base runners walked onto base. Banks got out of the jam only allowing one run when more were on the cusp. 

“Coach Martel came out to talk to me and told me to step off the mound for a second and take a breather and just do what I do,” Banks said. “I kept my composure by just staying in the zone and making them hit into outs. I went on to pitch my first-ever complete game.” 

The Titan outfield didn’t have much action, only recording three putouts as a unit. 

But their bats caught fire. 

Locking down the outfield was senior Thomas Bleeker, junior Louis Perona and sophomore Tristan Figus who  combined for 8-12 evening that included four RBI’s and seven runs. 

Rounding out the outstanding performances was third baseman Burgh, who continues to see the ball well at the plate, walking three times and going 1-2 with a triple. 

An 108-pitch outing garnered Banks his fourth win on the year as a starter (4-0) finishing off the night with a scoreless seventh inning. 

Titans drop doubleheader against North Park University (8-14) on Sunday, April 2.

The Titans were back in action at Horenberger Field as they hoped for a potential sweep against the Vikings. 

Back-to-back singles in the top of the second inning put the Titans with runners in scoring position. 

Two more singles brought the runners in to put the Titans up 2-0. It would be the last runs from the Titans until the seventh inning where it was too late to catch up. 

The Vikings scored five unanswered runs between the second and sixth innings to put them up 6-2. 

A one-hit differential in favor of the Titans is a bright side of the game as the offense continued to stay hot. Bringing runners was the name of the game as the Titans stranded nine batters on base. 

The second game of the evening saw the Titans lose 11-9 in a back and forth high scoring contest.

A loud crack of the bat by Perona in the bottom of the first inning set the game off as he hit a two-run homer to set the pace offensively. 

Nine runs combined in the fourth inning gave the Titans a 7-5 lead with still plenty of game left to go. 

Two pitching changes for the Titans in the fifth and sixth innings accounted for five runs giving the Vikings an 10-7 lead that they would eventually never lose. 

“Most of the games that we lost have been just 1-3 run games,” Banks said. “We are right there. These next few weeks will be good for us to show who we really are.”

The Titans travel to Kenosha, WI on Friday, April 7 for a doubleheader against CCIW rivals Carthage College.

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