Softball sweeps UWP, wins seventh straight

Ryne Prinz

UW Oshkosh softball began Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on April 8. Sweeping UW-Platteville, 3-2 and 16-2, in two-game series. Oshkosh’s freshman pitcher Clare Robbes started the first of two games. But, after the Pioneers got 7 hits and 2 runs in the first three innings, coach Scott Beyer made the switch to sophomore Sara Brunlieb. Game one was tied going into the seventh inning when junior shortstop Haley Bayreuther hit a homerun to give Oshkosh the walk-off victory. UWO student Mitch Pauers, said it was great to watch the dramatic finish of the first game. “She stepped up, had really nice contact, and [the ball] just went sailing over the fence,” Pauers said. Bayreuther is currently fifth in the conference in batting average. Oshkosh dominated the second game, defeating Platteville 16-2. Brunlieb received the start in this game and had another solid outing. She pitched a complete game, allowing 2 hits and 2 earned runs, earning her ninth win of the year. Including the April 8 double header against UW-Plattville, the Titans have won their last seven games. They have now improved to 2-0 in conference play, moving into third place overall. Bayreuther said she thought a vital factor to the game would be pitching. “Our pitching staff, number one, will have to hold their offense, which is really good, at bay,” Bayreuther said. Beyer said the team’s defense has been struggling. “Our pitching has come around,” Beyer said. “Our pitchers have been the deciding factor.” After finishing third in the WIAC standings in consecutive seasons, second year head coach Scott Beyer said the team has big goals for this season. “We obviously set a goal to win conference every year, knowing that our conference is one of the toughest in the country,” Beyer said. Last year, the team finished only one and a half games behind conference champion UW-Whitewater, who was ranked fifth in the 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll. Bayreuther said the team has come into its own. “The beginning of the year was kind of shaky, but now we’ve kind of got it figured out,” Bayreuther said. Bayreuther and Katie Koepsel combined for 3 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs in the first game, as well as 2 hits, 4 runs, and 2 RBIs in the second. Koepsel is the current leader in batting average in the WIAC, with an average of .509. Bayreuther said the team has been a lot more focused leading up to its games. “We’ve made it a point to visualize before every game, and really focus on what we are going to do right,” Bayreuther said. The Titans continue conference play Saturday, April 11 when they face second-place UW-Eau Claire.