Panthers Bounce Back For Split With Wright State
April 28, 2007
MILWAUKEE - Sophomore Andy Hetebrueg brought in the winning run on a squeeze bunt and junior Troy Vesling followed with a three-run home run to help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team to a 12-8 comeback victory over Wright State Saturday. The Panthers (10-24, 9-9 Horizon) let a 7-4 lead slip away against the Raiders (24-15, 15-8 Horizon) before battling back.
"We went small ball and we went big ball," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "Andy (Hetebrueg) was struggling today, so it was good to see him come in and do something really positive. For us this year, we have not been able to sustain a big inning for whatever reason, so that was good to see."
After Wright State had turned a 7-4 deficit into an 8-7 lead in the top of the seventh, UWM came right back with a five-run frame of its own. Junior Nick Wichser hit a lead-off triple and was driven in by junior Grant Berkovitz to knot the score. After a pitching change, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Hetebrueg. He laid down the perfect bunt and then became another base runner after a fielding error. Vesling followed with his first home run in a UWM uniform, a blast to deep left that made it 12-8.
"Five in the seventh after they scored four [in the top of the inning] is just an emotional roller coaster," Doffek said. "To feel good about yourself, then give up a four-spot, then come back like that is tough to do. It was very positive for us."
The Raiders continued to make it interesting in the final innings, but sophomore Jordan Herbert nailed it down in the ninth, striking out the side on 12 pitches after coming in with a runner on base and no outs.
Down 2-0 after one, Milwaukee plated four runs in the first, getting two on a single from Wichser, one on a throwing error and another on senior Ross McCoy's single.
The Panthers extended their lead to 7-2 in the third, scoring once on Vesling's sacrifice fly and adding two more on senior Kyle Silver's single up the middle.
It stayed that way until the top of the seventh, when Wright State loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Jeremy Hamilton's double chased UWM starter Dan Luczak, and WSU would add the tying run on a passed ball and the go-ahead tally on a sac fly.
Junior Brandon Duffy (1-2) earned the victory with 1.2 scoreless innings of work after that point in the game. Luczak threw six-plus innings, striking out five batters. Garrett Holleran (3-4) took the loss, allowing nine runs - six earned - in 6.0 innings.
Milwaukee's 14-hit attack was led by Wichser, who tied his career-high with four hits in a 4-for-5, two RBI, two run effort. Berkovitz added three hits, with junior Jesse Hart extending his hit streak to 11 games with another multi-hit (2-for-4) performance. Vesling recorded a career-high four RBIs in the contest.
Things looked good for Milwaukee early in game one. After giving up a run in the first and one in the fourth to get behind 2-0, Berkovitz's two-run home run in the home half of the fourth tied the game at 2-2.
But, that was when the bottom would fall out. WSU would send 15 batters to the plate in its half of the fifth, scoring 10 runs on seven hits, helped along greatly by three Panther errors in the frame. In fact, just one of the 10 runs was earned.
Senior Robert Michalkiewicz (4-4) lost for the first time in five starts, working 4.2 innings in giving up all 12 runs - but just three earned. He struck out six and walked three. Sophomore Tim Hoy (2.1 innings, one hit) and junior Matt Holzheuter (2.0 perfect innings) did a fine job in relief.
Berkovitz drove in all four runs, with Wichser adding two more hits in the opener. The Raiders were led by Dan Biedenharn, who went 4-for-4 with three RBIs.
These two teams will play the series finale Sunday at Henry Aaron Field. First pitch is scheduled for noon.