Baseball squad takes down top conference foe

Ethan Maurice, Staff Reporter

The Warhawk baseball team came out victorious in both games of a home doubleheader against top WIAC foe UW-Oshkosh April 6.

The first game was a nail-biter that saw Whitewater win on an eighth-inning single from senior second baseman Nick Schrader. The final score was 5-4.

In the second contest of the day, the Warhawks blew out the Titans by a score of 12-1.

UW-W improves to 9-5 overall.

“Everybody was here early and locked in,” senior right-hander Michael Kaska said. “Just because its Oshkosh, with a little bit of rivalry factor, we were that much more excited. So to have the start we did was amazing.”

The first game was a big one for the Warhawk program. The first of the conference season for Whitewater, team wanted a win.

The Warhawk fans didn’t have to wait long to see fireworks. Sophomore shortstop Nick Santoro, the Warhawks leadoff hitter, blasted a home run on only the fourth pitch of the game, giving Whitewater a 1-0 lead.

“That was an exciting moment,” Santoro said. “I don’t really hit too many home runs, so that was nice. I try doing whatever I can to get on, get over and get in. I just got a good pitch to hit and got it out.”

The game stayed tight, and Oshkosh caught up in the seventh inning, but Whitewater battled back in the eighth, taking a 5-4 lead. Sophomore pitcher Connor Spear was brought on to pitch in the seventh and closed the door on Oshkosh’s comeback hopes.

The second game of the doubleheader had a completely different script. Whitewater scored three runs in the first, and sophomore pitcher Matt O’Sullivan was able to keep the Titans off the scoreboard until the eighth inning.

By then the game was already out of hand, thanks in part to a homerun from senior third baseman Cal Aldridge.

The Warhawks erupted in the eighth inning for six more runs, including senior second baseman Connor Schneider going deep with a three-run blast in his only plate appearance of the day.

O’Sullivan, who was a reliever last year, was the standout player of the game. He allowed only three hits and hung nine strikeouts on the Titans. He was credited with the win, his second of the season.

It’s still the beginning of the season for the Warhawks, and head coach John Vodenlich’s focus is on growing as a team.

“Our emphasis continues to be daily improvement,” Vodenlich said. “We performed better today than last week, and we hope to continue that trend.”

With tough rivalry games in the rearview mirror, the Warhawks will have some confidence to boot. They faced the Titans again April 7, but the results were not established by press time. UW-W’s next road contest takes place April 10 against UW-Platteville.

“Oshkosh is a good team every year, so we know we had to come out hot, and that’s what we did,” Santoro said. “I think we had good approaches at the plate, and pitching did their job today, and we got it done.”