’Hawks on top of WIAC

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’Hawks on top of WIAC

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April 29, 2015 By Emily Leclair

The UW-Whitewater baseball team moved into first place in the WIAC after a four-game series against UW-Platteville. UW-W won three of the four games, knocking Platteville into second place in the conference. The ’Hawks are 14-4 in conference and 26-5 overall.

“We definitely stepped it up offensively,” senior Mikole Pierce said. “A lot of guys played major roles.”

UW-W scored 31 runs and tallied 34 hits in a two-game sweep against UW-Stevens point on April 22. The game was also the return for senior Trey Cannon, who has been injured since the spring trip to Florida, and senior Nick Kuhlmann.

“We played great baseball that day,” head coach John Vodenlich said. “We not only had great offense, but our defense played well. Our pitching was good as well.”

Sophomore Steven Chamberlain went 7-for-8 with three runs batted in  for the day to lead the offense.

In the first game against UW-SP, senior Mikole Pierce, Mike Mierow and Chamberlain totaled three hits apiece to lead UW-W at the plate. Senior Casey Power went 2-for-4, driving in four runs, while Mierow and senior Kyle Haen drove in three runs each.

The ’Hawks established a seven- run lead between the fourth and fifth innings to bring the score to 13-2.

The Pointers scored two in the fifth inning, but UW-W came back with one run in the sixth and six more in the seventh to win 20-5 due to run rule.

Junior Curtis Morgan pitched 4 2/3 innings for the ’Hawks to earn his fifth win of the season.

The team recorded 17 hits in the second game,  scoring five runs in the top of the fourth to establish its lead early.

Chamberlain and Power led the offense going 4-for-5 and 3-for-4, respectively.

Mierow recorded his first home run since May of last season, driving in three runs.

Senior Colin Grove earned the win and sophomore Austin Finn came in to pitch a 1-2-3 inning to finalize the win, 11-1.

On April 26, the ’Hawks started a four-game series against UW-Platteville. The ’Hawks and the Pioneers were tied for first place in the WIAC heading into the doubleheader.

“No pressure, if anything a little extra motivation,” Vodenlich said. “We believe we’re the best team in the league, and today with us being tied, we had an opportunity to prove that.”

In the first game, Morgan pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out five to improve to 6-0 for the season. Finn earned his first save of the year, allowing one run over 1 1/3 innings.

The ’Hawks took the lead for good scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Pierce had a two-run triple to tie the game and senior Trey Cannon ground out to drive in the lead run.

The Pioneers attempted to tie the game in the ninth, but Finn forced a ground out for the 7-5 win.

“We continue to improve in all aspects of the game,” Vodenlich said.

Grove pitched his third complete game of the season to earn the win for the second game, striking out four and allowing six hits.

UW-W’s lead came in the fourth when Mierow drove in a run, followed by Chamberlain’s two-run base hit to left field.

Power drove in a run in the eighth inning to finalize the win 5-1.

“That’s how it’s going to be as the season goes on,” Pierce said. “[Coach] Vo always has that ‘we’ll peak at the end of the season’ so that’s what we’re working toward right now.”

The series continued on April 27, with UW-W falling 3-2 in the first game and coming back to win 5-2.

Freshman Lake Bachar took the loss, allowing three runs and striking out three.

Pierce led the offense going 1-for-2 with two walks.

Finn earned his first win of the season in the second game, coming in to pitch two innings of relief. Senior Andrew Lowe earned his second save of the season with one inning of relief.

Power drove in two runs to get UW-W on the board in the bottom of the third inning.

Kuhlmann drove in the final run in the seventh inning for the win.

Pierce and Chamberlain led the offense going 1-for-2 with two walks apiece.

“One of the things that we’re hoping to see is that we continue to get healthier as the conference tournament and then of course, the regional tournament come near,” Vodenlich said.