Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

UWO softball finished fifth at College World Series

Courtesy of Michael Sudhalter — Sophie Wery drove hits a double in Oshkosh’s second game of the College World Series.

The UW Oshkosh softball team went 1-2 in the 2024 NCAA Division III College World Series, placing fifth in the event hosted by East Texas Baptist University at Bell Park at Taylor Field from May 30 – June 5.

Multiple hours of weather delays had no effect on UWO as the Titans opened the 2024 NCAA Division III World Series with a 4-1 victory over Virginia Wesleyan University May 30.

Five seed Virginia Wesleyan (40-9) out-hit four seed Oshkosh (45-5) 10-5 while committing four errors to the Titans’ one. Titan pitchers fanned six combined batters and just one Oshkosh batter struck out.

Starting Oshkosh pitcher Brianna Bougie pitched a scoreless first half inning before the game was suspended for multiple hours. The contest, originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, was started for the final time at 10:35 p.m. due to the Linfield University (Oregon)-Tufts University (Massachusetts) game going to extra innings and multiple weather delays.

When the Titans and Marlins returned to action, the teams traded quick at-bats before the Titans scored the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the second. Sophie Wery ended the top of the second by catching Julia Piotrowski stealing, her 12th runner caught stealing of the season.

Hannah Ritter kicked things off with a single to left field before Lizzie Slobodecki came in to pinch run. She advanced to second when Morgan Rau grounded out and reached third on an Abby Garceau single to VWU pitcher Emma Adams. Oshkosh’s first run crossed the plate when a Haylie Wittman groundout to second moved Slobodecki to another base. Garceau made the score 2-0 a batter later, scoring as Sarah Hammerton reached on a throwing error by Marlin shortstop Karley Beltran.

Another Titan run scored in the bottom of the third after Bougie worked another scoreless inning. Sydney Rau reached safely as the leadoff batter by laying down a bunt and beating out the catcher’s throw to first base. She advanced to third during Brianna Davis’ and Wery’s at-bats before scoring on Ritter’s groundout.

The Marlins reached second once over the following three innings and the Oshkosh defense kept them off the board by recording an out on a fielder’s choice, closing out the top of the fourth inning.

Bougie pitched into the seventh inning, notching five strikeouts while allowing 10 hits. The Marlins scored their only run of the game in the top of the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded as Bougie let up her only walk of the game. Sydney Nemetz came in as relief after the run scored and threw three consecutive strikes to Olivia Knight to end the nine hour and 38 minute game.

Bougie (10-1) was credited with the win and Nemetz picked up her second save of the season.

 UWO was tied with Linfield University heading into the seventh inning of the second round game of the World Series, however a two-run home run handed the Titans their first loss of the tournament.

The Wildcats (50-2) recorded seven hits with a home run and the Titans (45-6) hit five times with a double. Sydney Rau stole her team-leading 12th base of the season and Linfield stole a base of their own while Wery threw out another attempt. Both teams were perfect in the field with no errors.

Starting in the circle for the Titans was  Bougie, who threw 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks.

Sydney Rau started the Titans’ half of the first inning with a leadoff single and stole second to put a runner in scoring position with two outs. She was stranded however as Ritter flew out to left field.

The Wildcats scored the first runs in the top of the second. They loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a fielder’s choice before adding runs when Tiani Wayton hit a sacrifice fly to left field and Kalli Saathoff was hit by a pitch.

Sydney Rau and Davis had both reached base in the bottom of the third inning on a fielder’s choice and a walk by the time Wery stepped up to the plate. Wery proceeded to hit her 13th double of the season, sending Rau and Davis across home plate to tie the game at 2-2.

After Bougie got two outs in the top of the fourth, Abby Freismuth came in as relief and forced a flyout to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth, Nemetz was in the circle for the Titans, forcing a flyout against her first Wildcat faced and fanning the second. She allowed a two-out single to right field before striking out her second, ending the inning.

When the Titans batted in the bottom of the sixth, they advanced a runner to third, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity before the third out was recorded.

Brynn Nelson broke up the tie in the top of the seventh with a home run to left field, also scoring Saathoff who reached on a bunt single down the third base line. Nemetz then forced two straight outs to right field to end the inning.

UWO’s historic postseason run came to a close June 1 as the Titans were defeated by Rowan University (New Jersey) and placed fifth in the 2024 NCAA Division III Softball World Series.

Oshkosh notched eight hits to the Profs’ 12 and walked three times with a double and a home run. Rowan also registered a double and a home run, adding two walks and a stolen base.

Bougie earned the start for UW-Oshkosh once again, going 2.0 innings and striking out one while allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.

Rowan scored first in the bottom of the first inning on a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt after two leadoff singles put runners on base.

Wittman led off the second inning with a walk, advancing to third on a Garceau fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Prof second baseman Liz McCaffery. She scored a batter later as Morgan Rau singled to left center. Rowan got out of the inning without allowing another run, holding a 2-1 edge headed into the bottom half of the inning.

The Profs had two runners on base with an out as McCaffery reached the plate. She hit to Wittman, who tagged second before throwing home to Wery, who ran down the runner at third for the 28th double play of Oshkosh’s season, a metric it leads the nation in.

Nemetz relieved Bougie for the third inning and threw 2.0 innings. She fanned a Prof while giving up two more runs on five hits.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rowan added its third run on a single to center field. McCaffery hit a deep sacrifice fly ball to left field with two on-base later in the inning and Davis brought it back into the park to save two runs while another crossed the plate for a 4-0 lead.

Appearing for the second consecutive day after not pitching since May 11 was Freismuth, who pitched the remainder of the elimination game. She allowed three runs on four hits.

Davis led off the top of the fifth by blasting her first home run of the season over the bleachers beyond the left field fence to cut the score to 4-2. Wery followed Davis by hitting a double to left field, however she was stranded on third by the end of the frame.

The Profs turned a double play in the top of the sixth, maintaining their 2-run lead which they added to in the bottom half of the inning with a 3-run home run to left center field by Cat Thomas.

UWO’s Wery and Ritter walked with two outs in the top of the seventh, but the Titans’ historic postseason run was ended when Rowan left fielder Abigail Pawlowski made an athletic catch for the third out.

Wery was named to the All-Tournament team at the conclusion of the event on Wednesday, June 5. She went 5-for-9 across Oshkosh’s three games with two doubles and two RBIs. She also walked once and caught a runner stealing.

Nemetz was Oshkosh’s first team member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region VIII Team, joined by Freismuth on the second team and both Ritter and Wittman on the third team.

Earning her third postseason honor, Nemetz was named to the NFCA All-America Third Team during the World Series banquet on May 29.

UWO finished its season with a 45-7 overall record, a WIAC record. The 45 wins is also a single season UWO record regardless of sport. The women’s volleyball team set the previous record at 44 wins during the 1990 campaign as it won both the WIAC regular season and tournament titles and placed ninth nationally in the NCAA Tournament.

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