UWO dominates Finlandia

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh baseball team scored 63 runs in four games as the Titans swept the season series against Finlandia University over the weekend at Tiedemann Field at Alumni Stadium.

Tuesday, the Titans took both games of their doubleheader against UW-Eau Claire 13-3 and 10-6, respectively, at home.
“We all had great at-bats and we were consistently barreling the baseball,” first baseman Zach Taylor said. “That combined with solid pitching and defense allowed us to get all four games against Finlandia.”

Center fielder Jake Surane had nine hits in the series, including two home runs and seven RBIs, to lead UWO hitters. Catcher Jake Anderson hit a grand slam against the Lions, his second grand slam in the last two weeks. Oshkosh pitchers struck out 35 Finlandia batters in the series and walked only four.
The Titans, who have won eight of their last nine games, improved to 14-10 on the year and 9-5 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Finlandia fell to 3-23 (0-16 WIAC) and have lost their last 56 WIAC games.

Every game of the series against Finlandia was cut short due to the NCAA’s 10-run rule.
In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader UWO took down the Lions 15-2 in seven innings. Shortstop Matt Scherrman, who had eight hits in the series, was a single short from hitting for the cycle in the game. Scherrman hit a homer in the first inning, a double in the third inning and a triple in the fifth inning. He nearly hit a single in the sixth, but the line drive was caught by Finlandia’s shortstop. Oshkosh led 6-2 after four innings, but scored nine runs in the final two frames to force the game to an end after seven innings.

UWO followed up by scoring 16 runs in the next game, dominating Finlandia in the 16-5 victory. The Titans scored 11 runs in the first two innings of the game behind Anderson’s grand slam in the second inning. Oshkosh scored five more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to once again put the 10-run rule into effect, ending the game in seven innings.

Connor Brinkman said the hitting came through for the team in the Finlandia series.
“During the series, we all came together as a team and played good baseball,” he said.

The first game in Saturday’s doubleheader saw the Titans win 21-4 behind 19 team hits and seven Finlandia errors. Surane and Taylor each hit home runs in the game as UWO scored in every inning but the sixth. Oshkosh led 21-0 until the top of the sixth, when the Lions scored their only runs of the game. This was the third game in a row that ended in seven innings.

“I had a 3-0 count and [coach Tomasiewicz] always wants me to be aggressive,” Taylor said. “He gave me the 3-0 green light, so I knew I was going to take a big hack and I got a pitch I could drive, and I connected with it.”

In Saturday’s nightcap, it took the Titans eight innings to put away the Lions in the 11-1 win. UWO had 15 hits and 10 RBIs, and this was the only game of the series Oshkosh did not hit a home run. Titan pitcher Logan King fanned 11 batters and had no earned runs in the only game of the series that made it past seven innings. Lions starting pitcher Greg Walker did not record an out in the loss, allowing four earned runs in the first inning.

UWO forced the first game of the series against UWEC (7-17, 2-12 WIAC) to end after eight innings, winning 13-3. The Titans lead 2-0 after the fifth inning before exploding for nine runs in the next three innings. Connor Brinkman earned his fifth win of the season, going seven innings and allowing one earned run.
Brinkman said his outing started out rough, but he got through it.

“I came through at the end and made good pitches at the right times,” he said.
Oshkosh continued its win streak by taking down the Blugolds 10-6 in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Mason Kirchberg had a five RBI day, helping the Titans score six runs in the fifth inning to put UWO up 10-3. UWEC made the game interesting in the top of the ninth inning by scoring two runs, but LJ Waco struck out the final batter to end the game.

Taylor said that the pitching and offense both came together for the doubleheader against UWEC.
“We played solid defense, I don’t think we had any errors, maybe one, and our pitching was really solid,” he said. “[Our pitchers] trusted the defense, and we brought the sticks today.”

Brinkman said the six game win streak was important to the team.
“I think us winning six straight shows that we perservered through tough times, and for getting hot at the right time going into the latter part of the season,” he said.

Taylor said the team is starting to figure it out after the slow start to the season.
“I think in the beginning of the year, we played these guys (UWEC) a few weeks ago, we kind of struggled against them a little bit,” he said. “I think the big thing is that we’re taking aggressive hacks right now, and it’s working out in our favor.”

The Titans will take on UW-Platteville (10-11, 8-6 WIAC) in back-to-back WIAC doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at Kendall Murray Field in Platteville.