Softball improves record to 19 wins

Michael Johrendt

The UW Oshkosh women’s softball team put their seven-game winning streak, dating back to their Florida trip on March 24, on the line against in- and out-of-conference opponents this week. The Titans increased their record to 19 wins and are past the halfway mark of the season.
On Sunday April 17, Oshkosh faced off against UW-La Crosse at home and came away with two wins. This was the fourth consecutive home doubleheader for the Titans, and it marked eight consecutive conference wins.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Oshkosh used a four-run fifth inning to break the scoreless tie in the game. The team had four hits in this winning effort.
Junior pitcher Sara Brunlieb earned her eighth win by pitching a complete game. She allowed seven hits and only one earned run while striking out five.
Freshman third baseman Maggie Meyer said that the team’s motivation stems from each other, and not just from on-field performance.
“Our team is really good at keeping the energy high in the dugout and the field,” Meyer said. “No matter [what], we have been the loudest team at any of the tournaments we have played in. Keeping up that energy will play a role in our success.”
Freshman catcher Abby Menting had two hits and three RBIs, and sophomore third baseman Erika Berry had the other RBI while also scoring once.
The second game was a defensive battle, with a lone run being tallied in the bottom of the 10th inning as the difference maker. Oshkosh tallied five hits in the contest, with the last hit being a walk-off single.
Junior pitcher Paige Giese, who made her first start since the end of March, pitched 9.2 innings, and scattered eight hits while allowing no one to cross home plate. Brunlieb entered the game in relief and earned her ninth win by getting the last out.
La Crosse put two runners on in the top of the tenth with consecutive singles, sparking the pitching change. Brunlieb was able to record the final out on a foul pop out.
Brunlieb, in her 13 most recent appearances, has only allowed four earned runs. She has covered 63.2 innings in these 13 pitching appearances.
On Tuesday, the Titans faced off against Ripon College in their second doubleheader of the week. Coming into the game, Ripon only had two wins.
The first game produced a 9-1 result in favor of Oshkosh, with Claire Robbe going the distance on the way to her fourth win of the season. She allowed seven hits and one earned run while striking out five. Haley Bayreuther, Berry, and Brianna Witter all had triples, and Witter and Berry both had two RBIs.
Witter said even with the uptick in the upcoming schedule, the team understands what they need to accomplish, even with a smaller time frame.
“We have a lot of games coming up this week which will take a lot of focus and drive, but if we take it game by game, we will be very successful,” Witter said. “Playing this many games in a short time span will test our team but also show how our team can buckle down in tough situations. We are extremely prepared for this week and we will play our hardest every single game, no matter if it is game one or ten.”
In the second contest, Brunlieb earned her tenth victory of the season in a 10-1 win. Oshkosh had 13 total hits, with seven Titans batting in runs.
Berry went three-for-five with two RBIs, Lauren Torborg had two hits, and senior left fielder Taylor Loew had two hits in the win. Sophomore catcher Elizabeth Fonk hit the lone home run of the game and had three RBIs, and Brunlieb went five innings in the win, only allowing four hits while striking out one.
Menting said that throughout the season, the outlook that the team has had has not changed.
“We are looking to win conference,” Menting said. “We have a lot of great teams in our conference, so for us to win is a big deal. We have to keep working hard and playing our game. If we play our game, we will be in a good spot.”
In their doubleheader on Wednesday, Oshkosh and Carthage College faced off in Kenosha. The first game was the Titans’ first and only loss of the six game series that started during the weekend.
Their 6-3 defeat in Carthage to begin the doubleheader led to only the second loss of the season for Robbe. She pitched the final two innings of the game after relieving Brunlieb and struck out one.
Torborg and senior centerfielder Hayden Krueger led the offensive charge for the Titans, as Torborg had two doubles and Krueger drove in all three runs.
Oshkosh earned their 19th win of the season by virtue of a 7-1 victory in game two. The Titans amassed eight hits, Torborg in the three-hole going three-for-four with three RBIs. Berry, Loew and freshman first baseman Kaitlyn Krol all had runs batted in, and Giese earning her fifth victory.
This victory extended their conference record to eight wins against zero losses. Oshkosh now has won 12 of their last 13 games, and hold an 8-4 neutral-site record on the season.
Up next for the Titans is a home doubleheader against St. Norbert College on Thursday.