Strikeouts Lead The Way In Milwaukee Sweep Of YSU
April 21, 2012
MILWAUKEE - Juniors Cale Tassi and Eric Semmelhack combined for 21 strikeouts and became the first duo of starting pitchers to record 10 or more strikeouts in both games of a doubleheader as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team swept Youngstown State University Saturday at Henry Aaron Field.
The Panthers (15-20, 9-8 Horizon League) improved to 8-2 on their home field in 2012, topping the Penguins (4-33, 2-15 Horizon League) by scores of 3-2 in the opener and 8-1 in game two.
"Early on in the (second) game, our offense did a really good job of keeping pressure on the bases, executed some small ball, just kept the pressure on them," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "And then for Cale to come in and get us back in the dugout with zeroes really gave us the momentum."
Tassi (3-4) lowered his Horizon League-leading ERA to 2.55 on the season, striking out a career-high 10 batters in 7.0 strong innings. He allowed just one run - which was unearned - and walked one, allowing six hits.
The offense helped Milwaukee jump out to an early lead in the second game, striking for three runs in both the first and second innings and another in the third to lead 7-0.
Senior Paul Hoenecke jump-started the team with a two-run home run in the first. In the second, sophomore Tell Taylor tripled in a run, freshman Luke Meeteer's suicide squeeze bunt attempt turned into an RBI-single and junior Alex Erdmann also had an RBI-double.
Tassi did the rest. He was never in any serious trouble and warmed up as the contest went on. He struck out the side in the fifth, added two more in the sixth and another pair of K's in the seventh inning.
Hoenecke (3-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) and Meeteer (3-for-4, 2 runs) led a 12-hit attack, with senior Phil Striggow (2-for-4) also adding a multi-hit effort.
Semmelhack (3-5) was wild and brilliant in the opener. He worked 8.0 strong innings, striking out 11 in becoming the first UWM pitcher with two or more games of at least 10 strikeouts in the same season since Ben Stanczyk in 2004 (Semmelhack tied the school record with 13 K's against UIC March 31).
He threw 141 pitches in the contest, getting out of a few jams when needed. In the eighth, a leadoff walk and a sac bunt had the tying run at second with just one out. But, Semmelhack closed out his day in impressive fashion, making strikeouts 10 and 11 the final two outs in the frame.
"He really stepped up and made some huge pitches when he had to," Doffek said. "We did not play very well in that game. He did a good job of grinding out some huge at bats."
The scoring got started quickly in the opener, with Drew Dosch leading off the game with a home run to give YSU the 1-0 lead.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as UWM struck for three runs in its half of the first. Hoenecke had the biggest hit, a single that scored a pair and made it 2-1. Striggow also added an RBI-groundout.
That was all the offense Semmelhack needed. He gave one back in the top of the fourth and also got out of a big jam in the fifth. The Penguins had runners on second and third with just one out. After another big strikeout, the Panthers intentionally walked Jeremy Banks to load the bases. Semmelhack then induced a ground ball to short to get out of the jam with no damage.
YSU did get a quality outing from its pitcher. Russ Harless threw the complete game, striking out seven. He did not allow a base hit after UWM led off the second inning with a single.
The Milwaukee offense won despite just four hits. Three of those came in the first inning and no batter had more than one. In addition to Hoenecke and Capasso, Erdmann and freshman Michael Porcaro also had singles.
These two teams wrap up the series tomorrow, set for a noon start.