UWM Baseball Team Takes First Game In Series With Wright State
April 25, 2008
DAYTON, Ohio - Senior Jesse Hart tied a career-high with four hits and also tied the school record for career doubles, helping lead the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a 13-10 victory over Wright State University Friday night at Nischwitz Stadium. The Panthers (14-24, 6-8 Horizon) and Raiders (19-17, 9-5 Horizon) provided a large crowd with a back-and-forth game that featured 35 hits, three lead changes and three ties.
"We need the offense like this at this time of the year," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "We really put together a lot of quality at-bats and made them work for every out they got us on. Our guys deserve a lot of credit for that."
Freshman Doug Dekoning came through with the biggest hit in the top of the eighth inning, a pinch-hit single that ended up scoring two to break a 10-10 tie and give the Panthers a two-run advantage. Sophomore Shaun Wegner scored on a close play at the plate after the hit, with the ball deflecting off the runner and going to the backstop. Junior Josh Groves then alertly followed, scoring on a bang-bang play that was a key insurance run at the time. UWM would go on to add one more big run in the ninth, plating an unearned run when senior Troy Vesling's infield pop-up was not handled by the Raiders second baseman.
"We have been talking about that all year - being ready to help us win a game if you are not playing at the time," Doffek said. "Doug (Dekoning) came out with a big pinch-hit single that brought in two runs and from there Adam Ferrell came in and did a good job throwing strikes. It was a good win for us."
Senior Adam Ferrell closed out the game for his third save of the season, coming on with one out and two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth. He recorded a big strike out looking and got a ground out to get out of the jam. He then struck out two more Raiders in the ninth to ice the win and snap WSU's seven-game league winning streak.
Junior Andy Hetebrueg (3-6) picked up the win despite allowing 10 runs (seven earned) in 7.1 innings, striking out one and walking two.
"He (Hetebrueg) did not throw the ball great, but he kept us in the ball game," Doffek said. "Defensively, we just had too many mental errors that extended some innings and made the score look worse than it really was. But, for the most part, Andy did a good job."
After a strange at-bat where broke his bat on ground out in the first, Hart followed with doubles in the second and the fourth innings to tie Ross McCoy's career record of 58 two-baggers. He is also now just one behind the NCAA leader, who tops the list at 21.
The offense pounded four Wright State pitchers for 22 hits, the second-highest total (24 vs. Butler in March) of the season. In addition to Hart tying his career-high with four hits, Groves established a new career-best in hits with his 4-for-6 night. Every spot in the line-up had at least one hit and seven starters recorded multi-hit efforts.
Senior Nick Wichser stayed hot, going 3-for-6 with two runs scored and junior Ben Long tied his season-high with a three hit night, going 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. Junior Andy Gerhartz, Wegner and Vesling all had two hits with Vesling driving in three and Wegner and Long hitting two-run home runs in the second inning. The 22 hits raised the team batting average to .301 on the season.
Aaron Fields led WSU with three hits, while the Panthers limited Jeremy Hamilton - the Horizon League's leading hitter - to an 0-for-3 night, the first time in 12 games they kept Hamilton hitless dating back to 2006.
Tied 7-7 in the sixth inning, junior Shawn Wozniak got UWM on the board with a sacrifice fly. Vesling then followed with a two-out double that plated a run and Groves continued the two-out rally with an RBI-single that made it 10-7 at the time. The Raiders came right back with three of their own in the bottom of the frame to tie it again at 10-10 and set the stage for Dekoning's heroics.
These two teams return to the field tomorrow for a big twinbill, with the first pitch slated for a 12 p.m. CST start.