Capasso Helps UWM Baseball Team Earn Split With Minnesota
Feb. 25, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Junior Jonathan Capasso tripled in two runs on a two-strike, two-out pitch in the top of the 10th inning to send the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a thrilling 3-1 victory over the University of Minnesota in game two of a doubleheader at the Metrodome Saturday.
The Panthers (1-5) tied the game in the seventh on an RBI-single by junior Nick Lingvay and then beat the Gophers (3-3) in extra innings to claim their first victory of the 2012 campaign.
"It's something we have been teetering with but have had a hard time getting over the hump, so it was great to see that big two-out hit," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "We have been putting ourselves in position, but haven't been able to come up in the clutch. Hopefully now the floodgates will open and we can relax a little bit."
Junior Cale Tassi was impressive in his second outing of the season. He went 7.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run. He walked just one and struck out seven, leaving in the eighth inning with the contest tied 1-1. Despite his second-straight no-decision, he lowered his ERA to 0.68 on the season (1 ER / 13.1 IP).
"Just a great start," Doffek said. "He minimized whatever threats they had by pounding the strike zone. We have to give our bullpen credit too. It started with Kaleb doing his job and then Jake Long - whose been on ice for three years [Long has been limited with numerous injuries in his career] - the first inning he gets is a tie game in the ninth. You have to give him a lot of credit. He has fought through a lot of adversity. And then Jordan was great in the 10th."
Senior Jim Lundstrom led off the 10th with a bunt single and took second on a sacrifice. After a pop-up, sophomore Sam Koenig walked to set the stage for Capasso. He sent the 1-2 pitch to the wall for his first triple of the season, plating both runners to make it 3-1.
Junior Jordan Guth then came on for his first save of the year. He worked around a pinch-hit single, recording a pair of strikeouts. Junior Jake Long (1-0) earned the victory with a 1-2-3 ninth. He relieved senior Kaleb Engelke, who worked out of the eighth after the potential winning run was on base.
Capasso collected three hits on the nightcap to lead the team. Senior Mark Strey added a pair of hits and Koenig scored twice. David Bettenburg and Michael Handel each went 2-for-4 to pace the Gophers.
In the opener, the Panthers let a lead get away for the third-straight game. Sophomore Mike Schneider (0-2) pitched well enough to win, allowing just one earned run in 5.2 innings to go with four strikeouts.
"He gave us a great opportunity to win that game," Doffek said. "We again had chances, but were not able to get it done. But, we still look at the day as a positive. We commanded the strike zone again and made routine plays. If we continue to do that the rest of the year, the hitting will come around. I think you can feel that everyone was pressing. It's a young team that is trying to find its identity and hopefully getting this win and closing it out will relax us."
UWM led, 1-0, in the second after putting runners on second and third with just one out. Koenig singled and Capasso doubled to start the rally, but a strikeout, groundout and fly out plated just the one run.
It then made it 2-0 in the fourth inning when Koenig launched the first home run of his collegiate career into the Metrodome stands.
The Gophers got one back in the fourth and took the lead in the sixth, helped along by a Milwaukee error to score two unearned runs and lead, 3-2. They tacked on two more in the seventh and were able to withstand a late rally in the ninth when Capasso homered to make the final score 5-3.
Capasso led the way with a 3-for-4 effort in the opener, with Koenig going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Strey, freshman Luke Meeteer, senior Paul Hoenecke and junior Will Fadness all added a hit apiece.
The two teams wrap up the four-game series tomorrow at the Metrodome, set for a first pitch of 1:05 p.m.