Warhawks fly over Finlandia


Ky McCombe

Sophomore first basemam Nick Paget (35) attempts to hit the ball during the home game against Finlandia Saturday afternoon April 23, 2022.

Parker Olsen, Sports Editor

The No. 10 UW-Whitewater baseball team (23-6, 15-3 WIAC) swept their double header against Finlandia University (Mich.) (3-27, 0-20 WIAC) April 23 on Prucha Field. The Warhawks took game one by a score of 15-2 and game two by a score of 11-4. The wins kept the Warhawks tied with UW-Stevens Point for first place in the conference.

Game one ended after just seven innings of play as Whitewater’s lead exceeded the 10 run minimum to complete the game via mercy rule. The Warhawks struck first with an RBI groundout from Nick Paget in the first inning, Sam Vomhof was able to score after swiping second and third base on a wild pitch.

Finlandia answered with a lead off home run from Chance White. Whitewater’s starting pitcher Westin Muir then allowed a walk but was able to get out of the inning with two strikeouts and a popout. The Warhawks regained the lead in their half of the second inning when Matt Scolan hit a two out RBI double.

In the bottom of the third the Warhawks got busy on the base pads, driving in three more runs. Paget again drove in a run with an RBI triple and later scored on a flyball that was pushed out of the defense’s reach by the wind. Senior catcher Ryan Norton also had an RBI in the inning to extend the lead to 5-1.

In the fifth inning the Warhawks batted around and drove in six more runs, all with two outs. Norton, Scolan, Bennett Frazer, Alex Najera, and Sam Vomhof all drove in runs in the inning. Vomhof narrowly missed a home run when he doubled off the center field fence. 

Senior pitcher Westin Muir (18) throws the ball toward first base during the game against Finlandia in Prucha field Saturday afternoon April 23, 2022. (Ky McCombe)

After the explosive inning was over, Whitewater’s head coach John Vodenlich gathered the team outside the dugout to voice an important message.

“The message was first of all to continue to carry themselves with class. Going into that inning Finlandia had made some mistakes and I think a lot of times we like to be a little bit critical of their mistakes. So I guess my message was simply to refocus and focus on what we do more,” Vodenlich said.

Whitewater kept the bats hot and took advantage of another wild pitch as they scored another four runs in the sixth inning. Karsen Rupnow joined in on the action and hit a two RBI single with two outs, however he was thrown out as he tried to stretch the hit into a double which ended the inning. 

With the win, Warhawks starting pitcher Westin Muir improved to 6-1 on the year as he threw five innings in which he allowed four hits, two runs and four walks. Muir threw seven strikeouts. Eli Frank finished off the game pitching two hitless innings with three strikeouts. 

“Honestly from my point of view that was one of my not so good starts on the year. I just didn’t feel as locked in as I normally am, leaving the ball up a lot,” Muir said. “Overall we got a win, the team backed me up. We were able to put up some runs, which is always nice to see the offense there.”

In game two the Warhawk bats did not get going until later in the game. The Finlandia Lions were able to draw first blood in the third inning with an RBI walk by Josh Merced and a Brandon Gaskin RBI groundout. 

Sophomore first baseman Nick Paget (35) smiles as he looks toward his teammates during the game against Findlandia in Prucha Field Saturday afternoon April 23, 2022. (Ky McCombe)

The Warhawks found themselves down two runs as they came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth, that was the last time they trailed in the game. Whitewater put up a big crooked number, driving in eight runs in their half of the fifth inning. 

Paget started things off with a one out home run, followed by a double that resulted in DeMeyer standing on third base due to an error. Zach Campbell hit an RBI single, before a Scolan single which set the stage for a three run home run from Norton. Later, Sam Paden knocked in two runs before he was bunted in for another run. 

Finlandia answered in the next inning with two runs, cutting the deficit to 8-4 but the Warhawks generated another three runs in the seventh inning which included a two run home run by Paden.

Whitewater took the second game of Saturday’s double header by a 11-4 score, the win gave Kade Lancour his sixth win of the year. He threw five and two thirds innings, gave up three runs on two hits and six walks, he struck out eight batters. Nick Rector was credited with his second save of the year as he struck out eight batters and allowed a single hit and a single walk in three innings.

On Sunday the Warhawks capped off the series with another two wins. Game one was a 13-1 contest which ended in another seven inning mercy rule, and game ended with yet another mercy rule win 14-4. The four game sweep was the team’s second in a row.

Whitewater hosts a double header versus No. 16 UW-Stevens Point on Tuesday April 26 as a make up for a rainout. The games versus the Pointers will be a showdown of the top two teams in the WIAC. The Warhawks will be back in action Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, as they host UW-Stout to close out their regular season home schedule.