’Hawks host WIAC tourney

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May 6, 2015 By Emily Leclair

After two losses against UW-Stevens Point, the UW-Whitewater baseball team came back to sweep UW-Stout in a four-game series to clinch its third WIAC title in three years and home field advantage in hosting the WIAC tournament.

“I think this weekend was the start of something great, and it’s going to lead to a lot of great things down the road,” sophomore Mike Nompleggi said.

In the first game against UW-SP on April 29, UW-W out-hit the Pointers 10-6, but left 12 runners on base during the game.

Senior Casey Power led the offense with three hits, while seniors Trey Cannon and Mikole Pierce added two hits each.

“We just didn’t really have those clutch hits that we usually get,” Nompleggi said.

Sophomore John Olejniczak dropped to 2-1 for the season, striking out three in 5 2/3 innings of relief in the 3-2 loss.

The Pointers scored nine unanswered runs in the first three innings in the second game.

UW-W came back to score four runs in the fourth inning, but the Pointers held the lead for the whole game.

Senior Nick Kuhlman led the  offense going 3-for-4.

“When it was all said and done, we definitely didn’t play the kind of baseball we’re capable of,” head coach John Vodenlich said.

Heading into the series against UW-Stout, UW-W had to win three out of the four games in order to clinch the WIAC and host the tournament.

“Just giving us that added pressure, it built up our desire to want to win more,” Nompleggi said.

The ’Hawks tallied 14 hits in a 10-4 win in the first game against Stout on May 2.

Freshman Lake Bachar pitched  a complete game, allowing three hits and striking out six.

Each of UW-W’s first five hitters had two hits. Kuhlman reached base all six times he went to the plate and Cannon, Pierce, Power and sophomore Steve Chamberlain all added two hits apiece.

UW-W took the lead early in the first, scoring three runs, and adding one more in the second and fifth innings.

Stout attempted to make a comeback in the sixth inning, scoring four runs, but UW-W added three more in the seventh, followed by Pierce’s seventh home run of the season in the eighth inning to finalize the win.

In the second game, Nompleggi pitched his first complete game of the season, allowing six hits and striking out five.

“Our goal from the time we got on the bus to the time we completed the sweep, it was to get four games, not three,” Vodenlich said.

Senior Colin Grove pitched the team’s third complete game of the series, and his fourth of the year, in the first game on May 3. Grove struck out four and allowed five hits.

The ’Hawks scored two runs in the fifth inning and didn’t give up the lead for the remainder of the game.

Stout came within one run in the sixth inning, but UW-W answered with two runs in the eighth.

Cannon’s sacrifice fly in the ninth finalized the 5-1 win.

In the second game, UW-W scored eight runs in the second and five more in the fifth inning, maintaining a lead of four or more through the whole game.

After recording 16 hits and seven walks, the ’Hawks prevailed 17-5.

Chamberlain led the offense with four hits and two runs batted in.

Junior Curtis Morgan earned the win, improving to 7-0 for the season.

“In our league, we play 24 games, which is a grueling season,” Vodenlich said. “When you’re done with those 24 games, to be standing as the No.1 team in the league is quite an accomplishment.”

The ’Hawks will play its last regular season game at 1 p.m. on May 5 in Mequon, Wisconsin.

“I think if we have solid defense and pitching and we get out bats going, I think we’re probably the best team in the nation,” Nompleggi said.

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