UWO Baseball defeats North Park in opening doubleheader


Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — UWO’s Matt Scherrman hits a home run against Ripon College last season.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh baseball team opened their 2023 season with back-to-back victories over North Park University in a doubleheader at the Holmgren Athletic Complex in Chicago Feb. 26.

The Titans (2-0) controlled the first game 4-1 before edging out the Vikings (0-5) 6-5 in the second game. Senior shortstop Matt Scherrman went 7-for-7 in the doubleheader, finishing with three doubles, three singles and a home run in 10 plate appearances.

In the first game, Jackson Broom reached second base after a double to left-center field, and Connor Giusti drove him in with a single to give UWO a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Titans increased their lead to 3-0 after Jake Surane hit Oshkosh’s first home run of the season to left field in the third inning and Mason Kirchberg homered to deep center field in the sixth inning.

After Kirchberg reached on a single in the eighth inning and advanced to third base on an error, Giusti hit a sacrifice fly to right field to secure a comfortable 4-0 lead. UWO pitcher Connor Brinkman held the Vikings scoreless for eight innings and North Park scored its lone run on a fielder’s choice off relief pitcher Logan King.

Brinkman finished the game with four strikeouts, giving up no runs and four hits in eight innings pitched to secure his first win of the season. In one inning of work, King gave up one run on two hits and had one strikeout. Scherrman went 4-for-4 in the game, hitting three doubles, a single and was walked once. Kirchberg finished the game 3-for-5 with a home run, two singles, an RBI and two runs scored.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Vikings loaded the bases in the second inning and took a 1-0 lead when Rylan Kawakami scored on a fielder’s choice. In the top of the third inning, Surane reached on an error and UWO took the lead after Scherrman blasted a two-run home run to left-center field. Oshkosh added to its lead when designated hitter Nicholas Shiu was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth inning and three batters later, Giusti scored Shiu on a single to center field.

UWO took a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning when Shiu knocked in Scherrman from second base with a single. The North Park offense began to heat up in the bottom of the fifth when Kawakami singled to the shortstop, scoring Carlos Martinez from third base to cut the Titan advantage to two runs. UWO pitchers Cameron Mulvihill and LJ Waco loaded the bases in the sixth inning and gave up another run when  North Park’s Cole Fiorenza scored on a single from Justin Swanson.

The Titans responded by loading the bases in the seventh inning and scoring a run when Vikings pitcher Frank Kalemba threw a wild pitch that scored Surane. Surane hit a sacrifice fly that scored Broom from third base in the eighth inning and UWO took a 6-3 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, North Park tried to make a comeback by scoring two runs from a couple of Oshkosh errors, but Waco shut down the Vikings in the final frame to secure the win for UWO.

Mulvihill gave up two earned runs, six hits and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched, and earned his first victory of the season. Waco pitched 3.2 innings, giving up two runs and three hits, but striking out eight batters to secure his first save of the year. Scherrman went 3-for-3 in the game, hitting a home run and two singles while scoring two runs and getting walked twice. Surane and Shiu both had two singles in the game, combining for three runs scored and two RBIs.

The Titans will be back in action March 3 against Hanover College (0-3) at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, at 2 p.m.