Warhawk baseball swept by WIAC leader


#35 Nick Paget hit a ball down the first base line in a double header against Lacrosse on Sunday April 23rd at Prucha Field at Jim Miller Stadium.

Chris Pittner, Men’s Sports journalist

This weekend, the UW-Whitewater Baseball team (17-11, 7-9) fell to conference-leading UW-La Crosse (22-6,13-3) in two doubleheaders Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, by scores of 8-2, 6-4, 8-2, and 6-5. The Eagles, ranked No. 25 in the most recent D3Baseball.com poll, are currently on top of the WIAC with a 13-3 record against WIAC opponents. 

The first game series saw the Warhawks fall in a tough matchup 6-4. The Eagles were spearheaded by a three run home run by Mac Born, which was part of a four run first inning. The Warhawks scored runs in the next three innings, behind an RBI groundout by Bennet Frazer, and an Adam Cootway double in the third inning which brought the score to 5-2. In the fourth inning, both Jacob DeMeyer and Donovan Brandl drove in runs off base hits to bring the score down to 5-4. A La Crosse run in the fifth inning ended the scoring on the day, and the next four innings were scoreless behind strong pitching on both sides. For the Warhawks, Eli Frank and Max Huseboe both had solid efforts keeping it close, only allowing one run through their five innings pitched, relieving Cole Berendt, who pitched the first four innings, and picked up the loss, making him 3-2 on the year. 

#34 Donovan Brandl pitches in a double header against Lacrosse on Sunday April 23rd at Prucha Field at Jim Miller Stadium (John Hynst)

In the next matchup, the Warhawks were given all they could handle by the Eagles, who were aided by a two run second inning and a four run fourth to secure the win 8-2. Pitcher Logan Eisenbarth was given more than he could handle, as he surrendered six runs, however only two were earned runs. In the fourth inning, a three run home run by Anthony Vivian pushed the lead to 6-2, and the Eagles never looked back. The Warhawks were held to only three hits. Donovan Brandl hit a two run home run to drive in the only two runs the Warhawks scored. 

A bright spot for the Warhawks was relief pitcher Michael Hilker Jr., who pitched four innings in relief, and gave up only one hit, and one run, and he struck out two batters as well. 

Moving on to Sunday’s games, the first matchup gave shades of the previous matchup, as the Warhawks fell again by a score of 8-2. For the Warhawks, Donovan Brandl pitched 3.1 innings, and surrendered eight hits, and six earned runs. The Eagles were led by Tyler Schmitt, who gave up only two runs in seven innings. Offensively, the Warhawks were led by Donovan Brandl, who went 2-4, and had an RBI double in the second inning, to score Jacon DeMeyer. Additionally in the second inning, Matt Scolan drove in a run off of a sacrifice fly to score Andy Thies, and gave the Warhawks a 2-1 lead. La Crosse then added three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth to push the score to 6-2, and they added two more insurance runs to make the score 8-2 at the final.

 Max Huseboe had another solid outing in relief for the Warhawks, only surrendering one run in 4.2 innings of pitching relief for the Warhawks. Coach John Vodenlich was impressed by the effort Huseboe put forth in both of his appearances this weekend, as in a combined 8.2 innings he surrendered only one run. 

“Max really stepped up, did what we needed him to do, he kept us in the games, he pitched well, and showed what he can do long term,” Vodenlich said.

#13 Jacob DeMeyer avoids being hit by a pitch in a double header against Lacrosse on Sunday April 23rd at Prucha Field at Jim Miller Stadium (John Hynst)

The final matchup saw the Warhawks offense come alive late, but it proved to be too little too late as the Warhawks scored four runs in the ninth inning to lose a tight game, 6-5 after a lineout by Sam Paden was caught in center. The game was a much better effort for the Warhawks, as they managed eight hits, including a 2-4 effort from Matt Scolan, and a two RBI effort by David Rubin.

Pitcher Joey Pettit had his best outing of the season, going 7.1 innings, giving up five runs, four of which were earned, and struck out seven batters. Pettit had been working hard all season to work on the little things, and it seemed to have paid off today, with this being his best outing of the season. 

“Location, all season I’ve been trying to work on my location, when you can’t rely on all your pitches, it is very important to be able to locate the ones you can rely on.” Pettit said. 

Despite the tough series the Warhawks have played, Vodenlich ensured that heads will be held high, and they will try to close the season strongly. 

#13 Jacob DeMeyer swings at a pitch in a double header against Lacrosse on Sunday April 23rd at Prucha Field at Jim Miller Stadium (John Hynst)

“We’re going to show up to work and we are going to address the basic baseball types of things, we need to pitch and play defense, have high quality at bats, and play enthusiastic baseball if we are going to right the ship.” Vodenlich said. 

The chance for the Warhawks to begin to right the ship will be a non-conference matchup, Wednesday in Whitewater at Prucha Field in a game scheduled for a 3 p.m. first pitch.