Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Team starts season strong

April 1, 2015 By Emily Leclair

The No. 1-ranked UW-Whitewater baseball team started its season going 8-1 in Orlando, Florida for its annual  spring break trip. With nine seniors returning to the roster and talented underclassmen, the team will make a run for its third national championship title.

The team won its second national championship last year, after going on an 11-game winning streak, including four in the Division III College World Series.

“This is a whole new season,” senior Mikole Pierce said. “Sports is ‘what have you done for me recently’, not ‘what did you do for me last year.’”Pierce,-MikoleWEB

Kyle Haen, Trey Cannon, Nick Kohlman, Colin Grove, Matt Roberts, Pierce, Adam Gregory, Mike Mierow and Andrew Lowe are the nine seniors returning from last year’s championship roster. Of the nine seniors, seven are starters.

Though the team has veterans in all areas of the field, head coach John Vodenlich is confident the underclassmen will step up to fill the void left by the graduating seniors.

“I’m excited to see those guys as they continue to develop,” Vodenlich said. “I think they’re capable of doing very special things.”

The ’Hawks had a slow start in its season opener against Framingham University (Mass.) on March 19. Despite a first-inning, two-run home run by Pierce, the team trailed 10-2 through five innings. The ’Hawks came back from an eight-run deficit to give sophomore pitcher Mike Nompleggi his first win of the season.

“We have a winners mentality,” Pierce said. “We were down a lot when we were there early in games and it’s that confidence that we’re going to put things together and come out on top.”

UW-W went on to split a double-header on March 20. The ’Hawks beat William Paterson University (N. J.) in the first game with a team total of 21 runs. This was the program’s third-highest run output in one game.

The ’Hawks fell to Rowan University (N. J.) in the second game 9-3, ending the team’s 13-game winning streak dating back to last season.

UW-W bounced back with a win agianst Rutgers-Camden       University (N. J.) 8-7 the next day, followed by another win over North Central College 5-3 in 11 innings.

Freshman Lake Bachar earned his first win of the season, pitching six innings with 10 strikeouts in a win against Elmhurst College 7-3 on April 24.

The ’Hawks won back-to-back games the next day against St. Thomas University (Minn.) 16-5 and 3-1, respectively.

Junior Casey Power hit his first career grand slam to left field in the top of the fifth in the first game. Neither team had scored until that point.

Grove pitched a complete second game, allowing only four hits and striking out five to earn his second win of the season.

The team ended its trip with a win over Keuka College (N. Y.) 11-3, completing a six-game winning streak. UW-W recorded 14 hits as a team and used seven different pitchers to earn the win.

Sophomore Steve Chamberlain and freshman Jordan Kuczynski led the team with three hits apiece.

The team faced injuries during the trip with Kuhlman having a pulled hamstring and Cannon with an injury in his hand.

“We had a couple bumps and bruises along the way,” Vodenlich said. “I think when we can get everyone back to full strength and healthy, I think our team will continue to improve.”

The ’Hawks then swept St. Scholastica University (Minn.) 4-0, 4-1 in its home opener on March 30.

UW-W will play its first WIAC games of the season with double headers against UW-Superior at noon and 3 p.m. on April 2 and 3.

“This is a team and a program that if they’re feeling any pressure it’s internal, coming from us,” Vodenlich said. “Not necessarily from the outside and that’s the kind of pressure that we need to learn to handle on a regular basis.”


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Founded 1901
Team starts season strong