Panthers Settle For Split Despite Strong Pitching Effort
March 31, 2012
MILWAUKEE - Juniors Eric Semmelhack and Cale Tassi put together a pair of strong pitching performances to help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a doubleheader split against UIC Saturday at Henry Aaron Field.
Tassi allowed one run in eight strong innings in the nightcap to help the Panthers (7-16, 3-5 Horizon League) to a 7-1 victory. Semmelhack tied the school record with 13 strikeouts in the opener but was saddled with the tough-luck loss when the Flames (11-13, 5-3 Horizon League) scored the only run in the 1-0 decision.
"That was rock-solid pitching, just a phenomenal effort by Semmelhack - probably the best he has been all year," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "I thought we did a pretty good job in the box even though it didn't seem like it (in the opener). We struck out one time, they struck out 15. We are just having a hard time relaxing with guys in scoring position and that was the case in game one."
Junior Will Fadness got Milwaukee on the board immediately in game two, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning. After UIC got a run back in the third, senior Phil Striggow gave UWM the two-run cushion back with a two-out RBI double, making it 3-1 and giving the Panthers momentum.
"Game two, we got a little momentum early when Fadness hit the home run and then Tassi did a great job putting up zeroes after we scored," Doffek said. "Our pitching and defense was solid again today. It was on the offense - we have to pick up our pitchers. They have been doing a great job. It's beyond quality starts. When you strike out 15 and walk one and lose, that's tough to swallow."
The team continued to tack on runs from there and let Tassi (2-2) do the rest. He set a career-high with nine strikeouts, scattering five hits in lowering his ERA on the season to 2.22.
The Panthers would add a pair of runs on sophomore Sam Koenig's two-out bases-loaded single in the sixth and closed out the scoring in the eighth inning on a double by Fadness that plated a pair.
Fadness and Koenig each had two hits to lead the offense. No UIC player had more than one.
You can't do much more than Semmelhack (1-5) did in the opener and not get a victory. He was in command from start to finish, carrying a no-hitter into the top of the seventh inning. He ended the game with 13 strikeouts to tie the school record and gave up just two hits in his outing.
A clean single to left broke up the no-hit bid to lead off the seventh, but then bad luck contributed to the only run of the contest. After a sacrifice bunt got the runner to second, a single up the middle that never even made it to the outfield scored the run.
The UWM shortstop and second baseman both dove for the ball and collided, allowing the runner to get home before a play could be made for the only run in the 1-0 loss.
Overall, the 15 strikeouts also tied the school record. Freshman Michael Porcaro (2-for-2 with a walk) was the only player with more than one hit in the contest.
The series concludes with a single game Sunday, starting at noon.