Titans bring out the brooms

UWO baseball concluded its nonconference schedule with a doubleheader sweep Friday.

Neal Hogden, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh baseball team swept a pair of wins away from the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Friday, pushing its winning streak up to 12.

The Titans faced an early deficit in the first part of their double-header as they were down 2-0 in the fourth inning. MSOE’s lead did not last long, as UWO used a few fielding errors by the Raiders to tack on three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

After another three-run inning in the sixth, the Titans exploded for a six-run eighth inning to earn a mercy-rule victory in game one. RBI doubles by senior outfielder Logan Reckert in the sixth and infielders junior Zach Radde and senior Noah Polcyn in the eighth helped UWO get some insurance runs.

After junior Dylan Ott scored on a fielder’s choice, the game was ended as the 12-2 advantage earned a mercy-rule victory for the Titans.

UWO senior and starting pitcher Lucas Gregory got the start and eventually the win as he went six innings while only giving up two runs. Sophomore Jon Maday was able to come in and shut down the Raiders over the final two innings to ensure no comeback would be possible.

Gregory said supplementing his fastball with a good change-up really makes it tough on opposing batters.

“I think being able to have a consistent off-speed pitch was a major factor towards my and Jon’s success,” Gregory said. “My change-up was working that day and Jon had a nice breaking ball, so we were able to keep the hitters guessing and that led to some nice defense behind us. Also, having the confidence knowing our catchers are going to keep everything in front gives us confidence to throw all of our pitches which keeps the hitters off balance.”

Head coach Kevin Tomasiewicz said he was happy to see that his pitchers were able to stifle MSOE.

“Both pitchers mixed their pitches well and kept hitters off balance,” Tomasiewicz said. “We also played good defense behind them that took away a couple of hits that could have started some rallies for MSOE.”

Junior outfielder Alex Koch said when UWO’s pitching is on, the defense and hitters are able to focus on their approach at the plate instead of putting pressure on themselves.

“As a hitter, we all feed off of what the pitchers are doing,” Koch said. “When guys like Lucas and Jon come in and put zeros up on the scoreboard, it’s one less thing we need to worry about. We can focus on having quality at-bats and putting up some runs for them.”

In game two, the Titans once again faced a deficit, as this one came after the top of the eighth inning as they trailed to the Raiders, 7-5. Oshkosh didn’t give up and strung hits together to score five runs in the bottom of the eighth to grab a 10-7 lead.

Tomasiewicz said the team was focused and relaxed, despite being down late in the game.

“Our guys were calm and cool the whole game,” Tomasiewicz said. “Nothing really sparked the comeback. I think getting the leadoff guy on in every inning is important, and we got him on right away [that inning]. That always puts doubt into the defense’s mind and we capitalized on their pitching [mistakes].”

Maday would finish the game and get the win as he struck out the side in the ninth to seal the victory for UWO.

Koch served as a major offensive factor for the Titans in game two as he had two hits in three at-bats and four RBIs. One of his hits came in that five-run eighth as he hit a single up the middle to score the go-ahead run.

Koch said he tried to be patient and wait for a pitch he could hit while at the plate.

“I did my best to wait for and attack a pitch I could do some damage with,” Koch said. “I focused on trying not to do too much, just move the runners over for the next hitter.”

UWO out-hit the Raiders 12-7 and struck out seven times fewer than MSOE. Senior Jesse Sustachek started the game for the Titans and scattered seven hits for two runs over five innings of work. He also struck out six MSOE batters and gave up a homerun on the day.

Now that the non-conference slate has concluded, the Titans sit in first place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a record of 13-2.
Following the Titans are UW-Whitewater and UW-Stevens Point with nonconference records of 8-2 and 8-4, respectively.

Oshkosh’s WIAC opener against UW-Stevens Point was postponed due to snow and will be made up as single games, both at 3 p.m. on April 12 and April 18 at Tiedemann Field.