Milwaukee Baseball Team Eliminated In 12-Inning Heartbreaker
Head coach Scott Doffek

Head coach Scott Doffek

May 25, 2012

Box Score | Video: Solberg Ties Game in 9th | Championship Central

CHICAGO, Ill. - For the second straight season, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team has been eliminated from the Horizon League Tournament in heartbreaking fashion. Friday the opponent was Wright State University, plating a run in the bottom of the 12th inning to escape with a 2-1 victory at Les Miller Field.

The Panthers (27-27) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI-single off the bat of sophomore Ryan Solberg. Each team had its chance, but the Raiders (37-20) eventually eliminated Milwaukee on Garrett Gray's single up the middle in the 12th.

"Today was just a really good baseball game," UWM head coach Scott Doffek said. "We executed some things, they executed some things. We got one big two-out hit, even though we had multiple opportunities in that game to get runners in from third. But, you have to give them credit - they made some pitches and turned a couple of big double plays that end up being the difference in the long run."

Just like in last year's 1-0 loss to UIC in the final game of the campaign, the game was a thriller from start to finish, with each team getting runners in scoring position only to see the other work out of the threat time after time.

The Panthers were led at the plate by senior Phil Striggow (2-for-4) and freshman Luke Meeteer (2-for-5), who will carry a 20-game hitting streak into next season.

Senior Jordan Guth worked out of an impressive spot in the last of the 11th, inducing a ground out and a lazy fly ball to left after WSU had runners on first and second with just one out. He put in his longest outing of the season, working 4.0 shutout frames, allowing three hits while also striking out a batter.

 

 

"Both starters did a great job and both bullpens did a great job." Doffek said. "Schum was very good and our guys did a great job as well. (Eric) King gave us a great start and the bullpen was very good. I think, really, Jake (Long) was just a little unfortunate there. We just didn't execute enough opportunities."

It was Meeteer saving the day in the 10th, making an impressive catch on a ball hit beyond him with two runners on and two outs in the frame.

Down, 1-0, and facing their final at bat of the season, Striggow led off the ninth with a base hit to right field. After a sac bunt, pinch-runner Mark Strey scored easily when Solberg sent a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to make it 1-1.

The Panthers had nearly tied the game in the eighth inning, but what looked like a game-tying double off the bat of sophomore Sam Koenig landed inches foul.

Michael Schum, WSU's All-American closer, came on in the seventh and worked out of a huge jam in both that situation and the eighth inning.

In the seventh, junior Jonathan Capasso doubled with one out and UWM made it first and second with one down when Solberg walked. But, Schum got a key strikeout for the second out and a fly ball to end it.

In the eighth, the tying run was at third base after Meeteer beat out an infield single and was advanced to second on a bunt. UWM then had runners on first and third with one out after an error, but Schum was again up to the task, getting a 4-6-3 double play to keep it at 1-0 at the time.

Schum (4-2) ended up with the victory, working 5.2 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out three. Elliot Andrew gave the Raiders a strong start, allowing five hits and striking out five in 6.1 innings.

Freshman Eric King got the start and pitched very well in the no-decision. He went the first 6.0 innings, allowing a single run and just a pair of hits.

Capasso also started out the day in impressive fashion, robbing the Wright State leadoff batter of a home run with an over-the-fence grab in the first inning.

"We put ourselves in a good position coming down the stretch," Doffek said. "It didn't help losing (Will) Fadness [to an injury]. I think that was a big bat that became apparent this week. But, injuries are going to happen and you have to rise above. Ultimately we did, but we just couldn't push that extra run across."

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