Panthers Edge Jacksonville To Complete Undefeated Weekend
March 1, 2009
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior Shaun Wegner hit a seventh-inning home run to break a tie game and sophomore Cole Kraft would score a much-needed insurance run on a balk as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team got by Jacksonville University, 10-9, Sunday afternoon to claim the title at the JU Invitational. The Panthers (3-4) built an 8-3 advantage, only to see the Dolphins (3-4) tie it up in the bottom of the sixth inning and put the potential tying and winning runs on base in the last inning as well.
The game was shortened to a seven-inning contest due to time constraints with Milwaukee travel plans after rains delayed the original start time by two hours.
"It was great to see us win close games like this early in the season." Panther head coach Scott Doffek said. "If we get a couple of these out of the way and build a little confidence, it will be huge for us."
UWM plated four runs in the second and four more in the fourth to build that advantage, only to see Jacksonville score five unanswered in the fifth and sixth to make it a new game at 8-8 on the scoreboard.
"We had some really windy conditions today and fell behind some of their hitters," Doffek said. "But, we battled back and got those two runs in the seventh. We just kept making the big plays all weekend. Defensively today, we made some extra-effort plays that kept the momentum in our dugout."
After Wegner led off the top of the seventh with a home run to left center, Kraft reached base one out later on an infield hit. A double off the bat of junior Wes Munson put runners on second and third before Kraft would trot home with the eventual winning run on the balk.
Senior Craig Meier earned a save for the second-straight day, but it was not quite as easy on this day. Two outs and two singles into his outing, another hit plated a batter and put the tying and winning runs on base. Meier then induced a ground-out to end the game.
The Panthers put up four runs in the fourth on four hits, getting the scoring started on a double off the bat of sophomore Doug Dekoning. Kraft added an RBI-single and junior Tim Patzman drew a bases-loaded walk. Senior Shawn Wozniak followed suit with a walk to give UWM what looked like a safe 8-3 lead at the time.
Milwaukee also scored four in the second, helped along greatly by two JU errors. Kraft and senior Andy Gerhartz each added runs batted in during the frame.
Offensively, the Panthers pounded out 10 or more hits for the third-straight day, led by two hits and two RBI from Kraft. Eight others collected a hit in the game. Jeremy Gillan went 3-for-4 with three RBI's for the Dolphins.
Freshman Cameron Amsrud (2-0) earned the win for the second-straight day, striking out one in a scoreless inning. Senior Jordan Herbert started the game and went 3.0 innings, striking out one and allowing three runs.
Milwaukee heads to its second-straight invitational tournament next, traveling to Kentucky to take part in Louisville's Cardinal Classic Friday through Sunday.