Baseball wins one game against Warhawks

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh baseball team won one game out of four in back-to-back doubleheaders against UW-Whitewater, the defending Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) champs, avoiding the season sweep in Whitewater.

The Titans lost both games in Sunday’s doubleheader 3-0 and 6-3, respectively, before splitting Monday’s doubleheader by falling 8-6 in the first game but taking the second game 9-0.

“We were the same team that played on Sunday, we were neck and neck with them the whole weekend,” first baseman Zach Taylor said. “We were just able to have more success rallying around each other and had more timely plays on Monday.”

In Monday’s win, freshman Connor Brinkman pitched a seven-inning shutout against UWW (12-5, 4-2 WIAC), who are ranked 10th in the nation by Jake Anderson had a career-high four RBI day to send the Titans (7-9, 2-4 WIAC) past the Warhawks, sapping UWO’s 10-game losing streak against Whitewater. Taylor, who leads the Titans with three home runs, smoked a two-run homer in the seventh inning, putting the Titans up 5-0. UWO scored four more runs in the final two innings to shut out Whitewater for the first time in a nine-inning game since 1995.

Taylor said he knew the Warhawk pitcher was going to deliver a first-pitch fastball in his home run at-bat.
“I made sure I had my timing down on deck and set my eyes to the outer third of the plate,” Taylor said. “Once I saw that pitch where I wanted it I let the back hip fly and drove it to right [field].”

Oshkosh had a 4-0 lead in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader thanks to Jackson Broom’s two-run homer in the first inning. But UWW stormed back with five runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. The Titans would score two runs in the seventh, but UWO could not prevent Whitewater from scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. Neither team would score again as UWW took the 8-6 win.

The teams played a doubleheader on Monday after Saturday’s games were postponed due to inclement weather.
The Warhawks held UWO to just three hits in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader to win 3-0. UWW took the lead in the first inning after Jacob DeMeyer and Nick Paget each drove in runs. Whitewater would tack on another run in the fifth inning to increase their advantage. Pitchers Westin Muir and Eli Frank combined for 14 strikeouts, and the pair limited UWO to just seven baserunners in the game.

In Sunday’s nightcap, both teams were locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel until UWW scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jake Surane laid down a suicide-squeeze to pull Oshkosh to within one run in the seventh inning. Later in the inning, Taylor and Nicholas Shiu scored on an errant Warhawk throw to put the Titans up 3-2. But Oshkosh fell apart in the eighth inning, allowing four runs on four hits and an error as the Titans went on to lose the game 6-3.

Taylor said that Sunday’s second game came right down to the wire.
“We were going back and forth with them the whole game,” he said. “They’re a tough team and we knew that they were gonna score again, we just had to try and be the final team to score.”

Taylor said that in Monday’s games, everybody was able to execute solid at-bats.
““In our at-bats, we were moving guys over, laying down bunts and driving the ball into a gap. That in combination with Brink[man] dominating on the mound, we were able to have success.”

Brinkman, who has a 0.97 ERA on the year, said there was a lot that went well in Monday’s win.
“Everybody was locked in on the game and both the offense and defense played very well,” Brinkman said. “And we stayed focused throughout the whole game which led us to a win.”

The Titans will take on UW-Stout (13-5, 8-0 WIAC) in UWO’s home-opening series with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at Tiedemann Field at Alumni Stadium.