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

Oshkosh softball earns five wins in last eight games

After playing its last home game of the season, the UW Oshkosh Titans softball team went on the road for a nonconference and conference doubleheader this past week. Their 5-3 record during the week puts them in fourth place going into the final six games of the season.

UW-Stevens Point

The Titans split the doubleheader, taking home the first game while falling in the second. The victory was by a 6-1 margin, with UWO falling 6-9 in the second game.

In the opener Oshkosh received a complete-game outing from senior pitcher Sara Brunlieb. She allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out six.

This was Brunlieb’s 10th win of the season, and she received offensive support on RBI singles from sophomore catcher Abby Menting, freshman shortstop Natalie Dudek, freshman second baseman Amanda McIlhany and outfielder Natalie Dillon. Junior outfielder Brianna Witter had a solo home run in the seventh inning as well.

In the second game, UWO took a 6-2 lead into the fifth inning, but allowed seven runs in the bottom of the frame and fell 9-6.

Junior third baseman Erika Berry went two-of-four with an RBI, and Menting hit a two-run home run to left-center in the losing effort.
Lakeland University

In the doubleheader rain make-up games against Lakeland University, the Titans tallied nine runs in each game to sweep the Muskies and earn their 23rd and 24th wins of the season.

The opener of the doubleheader had Brunlieb on the mound, and she earned her ninth win of the season by pitching five shutout innings and only allowing four hits while striking out three in a 9-1 win.

Junior pitcher Clare Robbe relieved Brunlieb to begin the sixth inning and went the final two innings, allowing four hits and the lone run for the Muskies.

Offensively, the Titans put up runs in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, highlighted by a four-run sixth frame. Three Titans had at least two hits in the contest, with freshman utilityplayer Claire Petrus going three-of-four with a base-clearing three-RBI triple in the sixth inning.

Freshman outfielder Emma Fionda, Witter, Berry and junior outfielder Caitlin Hoerning, along with Petrus, all knocked in runs in the opening victory.

With the final 10 games of the year on the road, assistant coach Lynn Anderson said that while playing on the road presents difficulties for the team, they have the tools to still finish out the year strong.

“It can be tough, because I think we always have a leg up when it comes to home games and our fans, as any team does,” Anderson said. “So it can be a challenge, but I think we are ready for it. We had a couple really tough losses [earlier where] they probably played their best game against us, and we played well; they just played better.
Hopefully we use that as motivation in the rest of our games this year.”

The second game of the doubleheader had Oshkosh again put up nine runs but only due to a seventh-inning rally in the top of the inning. Going into the final frame, UWO trailed Lakeland 6-2 and put up a seven-spot in the final inning to earn the sweep, 9-6.

Sophomore pitcher Bailey Smaney began the game on the mound for Oshkosh, pitching four and one-third innings, allowing three runs while striking out two. Petrus came in relief and earned her fourth win of the season, going one and two-thirds innings, only allowing three hits and a single run.

After starting the opening game, Brunlieb was brought back into the game and earned her first save of the season by pitching the final frame and only allowing one hit and striking out two.

UWO’s scoring opened in the top of the first, as Menting hit a sacrifice fly that drove in sophomore first baseman Kaitlyn Krol from third base. Krol had an RBI double in the top of the fifth that brought home UWO’s second run of the game.

The seventh-inning rally was started by Menting, as her RBI double scored Berry. RBI singles by Petrus, McIlhany, Hoerning and Fionda brought in five runs in the inning, and the seventh Titan to cross home plate was Hoerning on a fielding error from a ball hit by Krol.


In the final home games of the season, Oshkosh faced off against first-place UW-Whitewater and fell in both games. This was senior day for the Titans, as the squad honored Brunlieb, pitcher/first baseman Paige Giese and outfielder Lauren Torborg for their contributions in their UWO careers.

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Titans jumped out to an early lead, as Dudek hit her first home run of the season over the left field fence to cap a three-run frame. The first run of the inning was scored by Fionda, who scored on a fielding error by the Warhawks’ second baseman on a ground ball from Krol.

The lead disappeared in the top of the third inning, as the Warhawks got two runners on before a home run was hit, tying the game at three. Oshkosh got the lead back in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Hoerning drove in a run on a single back up the middle, making it 4-3 UWO.

That was the last run the Titans scored in the contest, as Whitewater put up a six-spot in the sixth inning, eventually winning the opener 9-4. Even with scoring four runs, Oshkosh only had three hits and left six runners on base in the loss.

Between games, UWO honored Brunlieb, Giese and Torborg’s careers as the team gave each player flowers to commemorate their illustrious Titan careers. Beyer said although the careers each player had were different, their impacts on the program were all monumental.

“[Seniors] obviously are instrumental in any program, but I think ours are pretty special in that they are three different people [with] different backgrounds that our young kids have learned from not necessarily on the field,” Beyer said. “They are very dynamic people, very willing to help and they are very good people. They are very instrumental to how fast our young kids get acclimated to our program and our family, as far as softball goes.”

In the latter part of the two-game affair, Oshkosh was able to string together more hits but put up less runs, falling 6-1 to UWW.

Dudek supplied the only run of the game for the Titans, as her RBI single through the right side in the bottom of the third inning brought Fionda home. This made the score 2-1, but UWW put up runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings on the way to a victory.

Dudek was also the biggest offensive contributor in the contest, as she went two-for-four at the plate. Fionda, Hoerning, Krol, McIlhany, Menting and Petrus all had base hits in the contest, with Petrus hitting a double.

Sophomore catcher Jordan Manthei said the team has the strengths to beat Whitewater and there are areas that just were not tied together in the series.

“I definitely think we were out of our element this weekend,” Manthei said. “We had the energy, but we just could not string anything together. We had the hits here and there, but we could not tie any of it together to get the runs that we needed, which I think we definitely could have.”

Carthage College

In the first of two home contests against Carthage College, UWO won, 6-2. Oshkosh tallied runs in every inning from the second to the fifth. Petrus drove in two on a second-inning RBI double and a solo shot in the fourth, and Krol brought home three on a homerun in the fifth inning.

Defensively Oshkosh was very solid, having no errors and earning four double plays. Beyer said the team needs to remain focused on the fundamentals to ensure they finish the season strong.

“We are going to work offensively,” Beyer said. “We are going to work hard on our mental approach at the plate and just trying to adjust faster at the plate, understanding what the pitcher is trying to do to us … the opposite end of that is pitching and defense in general. Being very consistent, and since we are a very good pitching and defensive team, it is just that in the matter of that in our last six games we have been inconsistent at times.”

In the second contest of the day, Oshkosh limited Carthage to one run on four hits on their way to a 5-1 win. Smaney earned her fifth victory of the season, going five innings and allowing four hits and one run.

UWO only tallied runs in the second and sixth innings, as four RBI singles hit by freshman outfielder Natalie Dillon, McIlhany and Menting brought in the five runs.
McIlhany had two run-scoring singles and went two-of-three from the plate in the win.

Anderson said they need to not get ahead of themselves as the season winds down.

“R-E-L-A-X, to quote Aaron Rodgers,” Anderson said. “We know how we can play and the level that we can be at, so we need to get back to that by just relaxing and having the confidence in each other and themselves that we are a good team and that we can finish out on a strong note the rest of this week and next week into the tournament.”

Oshkosh looks to finish their season strong with games against UW-River Falls, UW-Stout and a nonconference tilt ending the season at St. Norbert College. Currently, UWO is in fourth in the WIAC standings, trailing UWW, UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout.

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