Warhawks win sixth straight game


Junior outfielder Brett Krause begins running down the first base line after connecting on a hit as freshman outfielder Matt Wary rounds third base in an April 8 doubleheader vicotry vs. UW-La Crosse. The Warhawks have now won six straight. Photo by Hannah Jewell

Josh Sinclair, Senior Staff Writer

The No. 4 ranked UW-Whitewater baseball team rolled to six straight wins, bringing the team’s early season record to 16-2.
On April 5, UW-W took on Ripon College in a non-conference double header. In the first contest sophomore right-hander Michael Kaska started on the hill and threw six shutout innings, while overcoming five fielding errors to earn his first win of the season.
The Warhawks scored eight unanswered runs to start the game, crossing the plate three times in the top of the third on run-scoring hits by junior designated hitter
Blake Fleischman.
“We had really great pitching and played solid defense,” head coach John Vodenlich said.
The Warhawks tacked on a couple more runs by the time the game was over, but the result was never in doubt as UW-W took the victory 8-2.
The ’Hawks fell behind early in the second game 8-1, before rattling off eight straight runs. Freshman right fielder Ryan Makuski tied the game at 8-8 with a single in the ninth. Junior designated hitter Trent Borgardt gave the team the lead with
a sacrifice.
Senior southpaw Ankur Shah pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief, allowing only one run while striking out seven to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Warhawks clinched the victory, escaping 9-8 over the
Red Hawks.
The ’Hawks came home to face a four game series versus
UW-La Crosse.
“Coach always preaches that these match ups are about who can execute their game plan better, and bring their opponents off of their game plan,” Fleischman said. “Overall, this weekend we executed our game plan.”
The ’Hawks won a dramatic 4-3 game on Apr. 9, in a matinee, before completing the four-game,
weekend sweep.
In game one, Jones moved to 5-0 on the season, surrendering only one run and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings of work. Senior Mike Nompleggi threw a scoreless ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
Sophomore catcher Mike Aiellom knocked a two-out base hit to center to put the Warhawks on the board in the bottom of the second, and a ground ball by junior centerfielder Brett Krause doubled the Warhawkslead to 2-0 in the third.
Fleischman knocked a two-run homer to make it 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth as the ’Hawks costed to a
4-1 victory.
In the nightcap, junior pitcher Heath Renz shut the Eagles down, allowing only two hits while striking out five in seven innings to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Senior second baseman Steve Chamberlain and senior shortstop Jordan Kuczynski each tallied three hits and combined for six runs batted in to lead the offense. Kuczynski banged two home runs, with a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth and a two-run fly in the seventh. The ’Hawks rolled to a 9-4 victory.
In the first game on April 9, Fleischman led off the bottom of the 12th with a walk-off solo home run to deep right field to give the ’Hawks
a victory.
“Anytime you win on a walk-off it’s exciting, but today especially, so because I knew it was over the minute Fleischman hit the ball,” Vodenlich said. “Wind or no wind he
crushed it.”
After the Eagles opened scoring with two in the top of the fourth, the Warhawks got one back in the bottom half of the frame on a solo homer by Chamberlain.
UW-L took a 3-1 advantage in the top of the fifth, but UW-Whitewater tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on Chamberlain’s second solo homer of the game and a run-scoring groundout by Aiello.
Senior Westin Wuethrich started and pitched eight strong innings posting ten strikeouts giving up only three runs. Nompleggi tossed the last four innings in relief to pick up his second win of the year.
Fleischman and Chamberlain each collected three hits in the contest.
“I was very fortunate to be put in that spot after a great performance from Steve leading the offense with his two homers,” Fleischman said. “But the main reason we were able to get six wins would be our pitching. We have a lot of depth in that position and it has showed this entire year as our staff has been lights out.”
In game four, the Warhawks plated three runs in the third, and Shah tossed another long outing including going 1-2-3 in the ninth inning for the complete-game win.
Fleischman recorded his fourth home run of the weekend, and finished 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and two RBI. Krause and Chamberlin also each contributed two hits and one RBI.
Kuczynski and sophomore left fielder Matt Wary also plated runs for UW-Whitewater, which won 6-2 to extended its win streak to
six games.
The Warhawks host Concordia at 3 p.m on Apr. 11 at Miller Stadium
in Whitewater.