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No. 3 Baseball starts WIAC play undefeated

Joe Byers, Sports Reporter

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The No. 3 UW-Whitewater baseball team started conference play with four straight wins in two doubleheader sweeps of WIAC opponents. On April 5 the Warhawks traveled to Chicago to take on Illinois Tech before hosting UW-Stout in a doubleheader over the weekend.

Doubleheader vs. Illinois Tech

On Thursday, April 5 the UW-Whitewater baseball team swept Illinois Tech in a double header, winning the two games by a combined 17 runs, improving their overall record to 10-2 on the season.

The Warhawks traveled to Chicago and had no problems handling the Scarlet Hawks (8-8). They won the first game by a score of 14-4 and continued their success when they won the second game by a score of 10-3.

In the first game, the Warhawks used six home runs and 12 total hits to put up 14 runs. Daytona Bryden, Nick Santoro, Matt Wary, Jeff Szubert and Cal Aldridge all went yard.

The designated hitter is usually the big swinger, and Aldridge showed why he’d been placed in that position. Though he went 2-for-4 in the first game, both of his hits were home runs.

Bryden also made his presence known in game one. The senior outfielder filled up the stat sheet and finished the game with three hits, three runs, two RBIs and a stolen base.

Junior pitcher Michael Kaska took the mound for the Warhawks in game one. He allowed just one hit in five innings pitched and struck out six of the 16 batters he faced. Kaska (2-1) picked up the win for the Warhawks as a result.

Despite his success on the mound, Kaska gave a lot of credit to the offense that gave him a large cushion.

“That’s every pitchers dream to have that offense that produces a lot of runs,” Kaska said. “It puts your mind at ease a little bit more.”

Game two of the doubleheader didn’t start off well for UW-W. Bryden led off with a home run to give the Warhawks the lead right away; however, Illinois Tech scored two runs in the bottom-half of the inning to put them up 2-1 after the first inning.

By the end of the third inning the weather began to become a factor. Snow started to come down, and the Warhawks were still down by a score of 3-2, but that didn’t last long.

In the top of the fourth inning they put up six runs on six hits to put the Scarlet Hawks away for good. The Warhawks matched their hit total from game one and finished the game with 12 hits.

Along with his leadoff home run, Bryden once again filled up the stat sheet and ended the game with three hits, two runs and three RBIs. Freshman infielder Nick Santoro and sophomore outfielder Alex Doud also finished the game with two RBIs.

Junior pitcher Sam Heilenbach (2-0) struggled in the beginning of game two but managed to pick up his second win of the season in three innings with four strikeouts.

“It started off a little rough in the first, but I was able to settle in and I started getting into a groove going into the second inning,” Heilenbach said. “I wish I would have started off a little bit better, but things started to click as the game went on.”

The bullpen took over in the fourth inning and was virtually untouchable. Freshman Matt O’Sullivan stuck out six of the nine batters he faced and only allowed one hit in three innings pitched.

The snow started to come down hard during the innings that O’Sullivan pitched. Despite this, he still managed to have a great day on the mound.

“It’s kind of cool playing in the snow but not ideal if you’re a pitcher or a baseball player,” O’Sullivan said. “I just executed my pitches pretty well. Me and the catcher Mike Aiello worked well together today.”

Sophomore Riley Gruetzmacher stepped in to pitch two scoreless innings after O’Sullivan, and Freshman Westin Muir closed out the game in the ninth inning to give the Warhawks the win.

UW-W is currently ranked No. 3 in the country for Division III. The Warhawks next game will be April 11 when they take on their conference rival and the No. 20 team in the country UW-Oshkosh in Whitewater.

 

Doubleheader versus UW-Stout on April 7.

The Warhawks baseball team posted a pair of 10-run wins against UW-Stout on April 7 to extend their winning streak to six games. UW-W topped the Blue Devils 14-4 in the first game of the doubleheader before winning the second game 11-1.

In the first game the Warhawks scored at least one run in all six of their at-bats, including a four-run second inning that gave UW-W a 5-2 lead they would never lose. The Warhawks finished the game with 17 hits and were paced by the play of Bryden who finished the game with four hits, two runs and four RBIs in five at-bats.  

Senior Austin Jones got the starting pitching duties in the first game against the Blue Devils, allowing three runs in six innings. The win moved Jones’ record to 3-1 on the season.

The Warhawks’ bats picked up right where they left off in the second game of the doubleheader. The Warhawks picked up 10 hits en route to the 11-1 victory. Santoro led the charge in the second game, finishing with three hits, two runs and two RBIs in four at-bats.

Senior pitcher Heath Renz improved to 3-0 on the season with the victory. Renz pitched six innings, allowing just one run while striking out six Blue Devils.

The Warhawks played UW-Stout in another doubleheader on April 8, but the games had not concluded by the time of publication. UW-W is set to play four WIAC doubleheaders next week starting with a doubleheader against UW-O on April 11.

 

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No. 3 Baseball starts WIAC play undefeated