Baseball begins 2018 season on losing note in Indiana

Neal Hogden, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh baseball team kicked off its season by traveling to Westfield, Indiana for a three-game slate over the weekend. The Titans went 1-2 on the trip and were an offensive force as they scored over four runs in all three games.

In the first game, the Titans got a stellar pitching performance from junior Colan Treml as he tossed seven innings and gave up one run while striking out nine batters.

Treml was able to throw strikes and limit the walks he had which allowed his defense to make plays behind him.

“My biggest thing is if you walk people, that’s when bad things start to happen so just throw strikes,” Treml said. “Just throw it over the plate and let them hit the ball and let our defense do the work. Typically, our defense is pretty good and it was that game so it ended up working out.”

UWO got the bats going as they put up three runs on Transylvania University starter, Austin Butts in the first inning. They were then shut out until the eighth inning when they tacked on four more runs while putting up two in the top of the ninth.

Titan senior shortstop Jack Paulson drove in two runs and crossed the plate twice himself. Paulson had a simple mindset when coming to the plate, he said.

“My mindset was to let the ball be my feedback,” Paulson said. “By that I mean consistently focus on hitting the middle of the barrel. Good things happen when you consistently find that barrel.”

Paulson, along with senior Andy Brahier and juniors Sam Schwenn and Dylan Ott, had two hits on the day to combine for eight of Oshkosh’s 12 hits. Schwenn and Ott each recorded triples in the game.

Treml was gracious for the offensive support he received in the first game against Transylvania.

“If you’re down five runs, you’re worried about hitting your spots and if they keep on getting hits, then you look bad,” Treml said. “If you’re up, you can afford to miss pitches, and if you give up a double, it’s not a big deal.”

Senior Lucas Gregory and sophomore John Maday finished up the final two innings for Treml.

The Titans only struck out three times while at the plate, which led to a final score of 9-1 with the Titans coming out with the victory.
Head coach Kevin Tomasiewicz was especially pleased with how his starting pitcher was able to keep Transylvania at bay so the Titans could focus on hitting.

“I think when the hitters know that they have a guy who is going to work quickly and throw strikes they feel as if they are more in the game,” Tomasiewicz said. “The tempo allows them to get off the field and back into the dugout to focus on hitting.”

Later that day, UWO lost a close game against Wabash College by a final score of 5-4. Brahier paced Oshkosh as he had two hits and two RBIs.
The Titans found themselves in a hole in the first inning as they gave up three runs, two of them unearned, right out of the gate. Ott displayed his power as he smashed a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

Tomasiewicz knows that his defense must be better in order to win close games this season.

“Defense has to focus every pitch and the object on every play is to get one out,” Tomasiewicz said. “When you get greedy and try to make the spectacular play sometimes bad things happen.”

Brahier then took over as he sent an RBI double out to center field in the third inning and hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to give UWO a 4-3 lead.

The Little Giants answered back in the bottom half of the fifth with an RBI single from Bryce Aldridge to even the score at four apiece. In the bottom half of the eighth inning, Wabash scored another run off an infield single by Eric Chavez to seal it for the Little Giants.

The Titans turned around and played their final game the following day against Transylvania, losing to the Pioneers 14-10.

Oshkosh held an early 3-1 lead as they went into the bottom of the fifth inning. The Pioneers then batted around in the inning and put up 10 runs on the Titans, stringing hit after hit together.

The Titans attempted a comeback by scoring six runs in the final five innings but they ran out of outs in the end.

Ott had a stellar game as he went three for five with a homer, two RBIs and a run scored.

Tomasiewicz was able to take some valuable lessons away from the weekend to work on during this very young season.

“We need to have more focus for 27 outs and understand that enough is never enough,” Tomasiewicz said. “We have to learn very quickly to not coast in games. We always have to be the hunter, not the hunted.”

Paulson said he knows the team has to be better, but knew that it was only the first weekend of the season.

“Overall, we have to be better as a collective group,” Paulson said. “Yes, it was just the first couple of games, but we know we are better than what the results showed. There are big things coming this year for Oshkosh baseball.”

Paulson also said the opening weekend didn’t go as planned, but they have to look ahead instead of worrying about what happened in Indiana.

“On the opening weekend, we were looking to come out right away with three wins,” Paulson said. “Just trying to ease into the first couple games is setting yourself up with a defeated mentality already. We are a mature team that has prepared for this opening weekend for quiet some time now. Obviously some things didn’t go our way, but we have to wipe the slate clean and focus on the next task at hand.”

The team will be heading to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, March 10 for a double-header against the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).