Hawks take top spot in WIAC

The No. 3 UW-Whitewater baseball team went 3-1 in two WIAC doubleheaders in the past week to make their conference record 12-2, good for in the WIAC.

The Warhawks split a home doubleheader with No. 11 UW-Oshkosh on April 25 before sweeping UW-Platteville in a doubleheader on April 28.

Doubleheader vs. UW-O (1-5, 11-1)

The split in the doubleheader versus the Titans marked a split in the overall season series as UW-W and UW-O split the first doubleheader of the season back on April 11.

The Warhawks dropped the first game of the doubleheader 5-1 as they struggled to get any rhythm in the batting order, finishing the game with just three hits while scoring the only run in the eighth inning when senior Alex Doud reached home on a double from junior Mike Aiello. The Titans scored the game’s first run off an error in the fourth inning before growing the lead to three on a two run homer from senior Logan Reckert.

Senior Austin Jones got the start for the Warhawks in game one, allowing just one earned run and seven hits in seven innings while striking out 11 Oshkosh players. Despite a strong performance Jones picked up his second loss of the season moving his record to 4-2.

The Warhawks bats turned around in the second game of the doubleheader versus the top ranked Titans as the Warhawks 10-run ruled the Titans, topping them 11-1 in seven innings.

Senior Daytona Bryden scored the first run in the games’ opening inning off a groundout from junior Cal Aldridge. The Titans tied the game in the second inning when their third baseman Taylor Ott reached home off an error after a pickoff attempt on a steal. It would be Oshkosh’s last run of the game as the Warhawk increased their lead to ten after a five-run sixth inning. The Warhawks recorded 15 hits as a team, 12 more than the Titans. Junior Matt Wary and senior Jeff Szubert paced the bats as Wary finished the game with two hits and three RBIs compared to Szubert’s three hits and two RBIs.

“That game gave us a lot of energy,” Schrader said. “And to be honest, that’s energy that we really needed as a team.”

Junior Michael Kaska got the start in game two, allowing just two hits and no earned runs in five innings of action. The win pushed Kaska’s season record to 6-1 on the season.

Doubleheader vs UW-P (14-3, 7-6)

The Warhawks swept the UW-Platteville Pioneers in back-to-back games on April 28 to push their overall record to 20-4. UW-W scored 14 runs on 13 hits in an 11-run win in the first game before narrowly escaping game two with a 7-6 victory.

The Warhawks came out of the gates swinging in the first game against UW-P, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning after Aiello scored on a double from junior Nick Schrader. The Warhawks’ lead increased to 11 in the eighth on an error by the Pioneers.

Senior Heath Renz got the start for the Warhawks in game one. Renz struck out 12 batters in six innings while allowing three hits and two runs. The win moved Renz’ record to 4-1 on the season.

UW-W was trailing 2-6 heading into the top of the ninth inning of game two but used a late to come out with the 7-6 win.

“I had no doubt in my mind that we were gonna come back and beat them,” Doud said. “We had all the momentum in our dugout and we just kept pushing.”

The ninth started with the Warhawks loading the bases after three walks by Pioneer pitcher Scottie Gordon.

“That whole game it seemed like we had enough to get it done, but we were just waiting for it all to just fall in place,” Aiello said. “As soon as we got the bases loaded with nobody out we knew we had a chance to win it.”

UW-W senior Blake Fleischman recorded a two-RBI single trimming the deficit to two runs. Aldridge shrunk the lead to just one after he scored on a strikeout. The game was tied after Fleischman reached home on a single from Doud. Freshman Nick Santoro capped off the rally by scoring the game winning run on a sac fly by Sczubert.

“We proved to ourselves and everybody watching that it doesn’t matter what the score is we can battle back,” Schrader said about the rally.

The Warhawks had another doubleheader versus UW-Platteville on April 29, but the games had not concluded by time of publication. UW-W will host four doubleheaders over the next week, starting with a doubleheader versus St. Scholastica on April 30.