Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Scoring extravaganza sets tone for week

Eli Bartels
Sophomore Reese Fetherston swings for the fences against Carthage at Miller Stadium, Tuesday, April 16

The No. 6 UW-Whitewater baseball team is on fire. Going into the week of April 15, the team was 23-4 coming off two WIAC sweeps against UW-Platteville and UW-Eau Claire. Standing ahead was another double header against UWP and a four-game series against No. 10 UW-La Crosse.

Before these WIAC matchups, the Warhawks faced off against Carthage College April 16. Through a combination of electric on-field play and strategic lineup decisions, the Warhawks defeated the Firebirds 16-4 in a seven-inning run rule.

“As satisfied as someone can be,” head coach John Vodenlich said about the result. “There’s a couple things that we need to clean up, but if I look at how they’re playing, it’s really hard to get too excited or satisfied with one game.”

The scoring extravaganza kicked off in the second inning, as sophomore infielder Andy Thies took advantage of several errors by the Firebirds to round the bases. He was hit by a pitch at the plate, he advanced to second on a wild pitch and then third on a flyout to center field, and an error by the first baseman sent him home, making the score 1-0.

Carthage committed two more errors, threw two more wild pitches, and hit another Warhawk batter to extend the Whitewater lead to 4-0. With the Firebirds on their third pitcher of the day, Thies came back up to bat with the bases loaded. On the first pitch of the plate appearance, he smacked a grand slam to center field.

“I had a feeling [the ball was going out],” Thies said. “The wind was blowing in and out to the left all day, so I kind of had to change up my approach [and] aim that way. It’s a great feeling.”

A strikeout on freshman designated hitter Jackson Koenig, who scored the second run of the day, ended the second inning. The Warhawks led 8-0.

“[Carthage] helped us out a little bit along the way, but when we get ahead and get a lead at home like that, it’s what we want,” Vodenlich said.

After a scoreless third inning, starting pitcher Logan Eisenbarth continued his success on the mound, going only 14 up, 12 down in the first four innings. He allowed no hits in the fourth with a strikeout, and only one Firebird reached base due to an error.

The Warhawks continued to take advantage of the Firebirds’ bullpen, as sophomore third baseman Danny Hopper doubled up the middle, and Thies singled him in with his fifth and final RBI of the game, extending the lead to 9-0.

“I try to go where the ball is pitched and try to hit it there,” Thies said. “That’s something I need to work on– if it’s inside pitch, try to drive it pull side and hit it in the opposite gap– but that’s my approach to the box.”

Carthage scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning, after Eisenbarth threw his first and only wild pitch of the outing. A Carthage fly out ended the inning and Eisenbarth’s outing, ending his game with three hits, one walk, one earned run, and three strikeouts.

“I tried to get all of my pitches working today, which I think I did a pretty good job of,” Eisenbarth said. “I try to focus on my fastball, trying to locate that, and then on my off-speeds, trying to get swings and misses.”

The fifth inning was another strong inning for the Warhawks, as they reached base eight separate times. Through four hits, two walks, and getting hit by two pitches, they brought in seven runs to extend their lead to 16-1.

The 15-run lead allowed for many changes on both offense and defense, as the first batting substitution came in the bottom of the fifth with sophomore Reese Fetherston replacing junior Bennett Frazer. By the top of the sixth, the entire defense except for the catcher was changed.

“We’ve had a lot of these games lately,” Vodenlich said. “We want to [bring] in players that aren’t in there every game without compromising our ability to win, and when you’re up 10, 11, 12 runs, you feel pretty good about your ability to win.”

A scoreless sixth inning allowed junior Ethan Wickman and freshman Brady Malkow to finish off the job on the mound, with the Warhawk defense fielding a fly ball to end the game with a final score of 16-4.

On offense, the Warhawks finished with 10 hits, nine walks, four strikeouts, and only six people left on base. On defense, they allowed four hits, walked two batters, struck out six, and committed four errors.

“Our team is hot right now,” Thies said. “Everyone is playing super well and doing what they’re supposed to do.”

As of April 2o, the Warhawks hold a record of 25-5 after splitting a Saturday doubleheader against UW-La Crosse. They dropped the first game 6-1, but behind a 17-run eighth inning in the second game, they went back to filling up the stat sheet, defeating the Eagles 23-1.

The team faces three different teams this upcoming week, including two non-conference opponents– Ripon College April 23 and Edgewood College April 25– and their third and fourth matchups this season against UW-Platteville April 24.

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About the Contributor
Chase Keller
Chase Keller, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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