UWM Wins Horizon League Tourney
May 26, 2002
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Geoff Lefeber pitched a complete game to claim his second win of the tournament and Dave Pudlosky went 3-for-4 en route to being named the tournament's most valuable player as UWM claimed a 6-3 win over UIC to win the Horizon League Baseball Championship Sunday at Jacobs Field.
With the title, the Panthers (36-18) claim their second-straight berth in the NCAA Tournament. The pairings will be announced Monday morning at 11:30 central time live on ESPN2. Players, coaches and fans will gather at Hooligan's Super Bar on North Avenue in Milwaukee to view the pairings live.
UWM dominated much of the tournament, outscoring its opponents 30-9 and scoring 14 runs after two men were out.
In the title game, the Panthers built a 6-0 lead and hung on. Lefeber struck out Horizon League Player of the Year Curtis Granderson on a 2-2 pitch with men on second and third to clinch the win.
"This was a total team effort," head coach Jerry Augustine said. "We had some outstanding performances, but winning this was a complete team effort."
Lefeber (6-0), who also claimed a win in Thursday's tournament contest with Cleveland State, scattered 10 hits and allowed three runs.
UWM grabbed the lead in the fourth by scoring four runs. The inning started with back-to-back singles by Troy Doering and Adam Christ, but Doering was thrown out at third on the front end of a double steal. David Michna then lined out, but John Vanden Berg singled home Christ with the first run of the game. Vanden Berg stole second and scored on a Pudlosky single before Steve Guden singled to put runners on the corners. Charlie Reschke then followed with a double to the gap in left-center to make it 4-0 UWM.
In the fifth, Ben Beno singled but was erased on a Doering double play ground ball. Christ singled and Michna was hit by a pitch before Vanden Berg and Pudlosky recorded back-to-back run-scoring singles.
"I wasn't trying to do anything special," Pudlosky, who finished the tournament 10-for-14, good for a new Horizon League Tournament batting average record (.714), said. "I wasn't seeing the ball any differently all weekend, I just was trying to put the ball in play."
UIC broke through on the scoreboard in the sixth. Curtis Granderson and John Rosner hit back-to-back singles before Chris Kerpan drove in the first run with a single to left. Chuck Peters drove in another run with a sacrifice fly but Kevin Nelson flew into a double play to center field to end the threat for the Flames.
The Flames added their third run in the eighth inning on a one-out single by Rosner and a two-out double by Peters.
Then, despite allowing two runners to reach base in the ninth and with three Panthers throwing in the bullpen, Lefeber was allowed to complete the contest against the league's top hitter. The 2-2 pitch dropped out of the strikezone as Granderson swung and missed.
"His (Lefeber) pitches have a knack to sink a bit more when he's tired," Augustine said. "He just pitched an outstanding game for us today."
"It took me a while to get loose, but the guys gave me a nice lead, and that gave me more strength," Lefeber said. "At the end of the game, I was really hitting my spots, and my stuff was dropping well."
Lefeber, Reschke, Vanden Berg and Quintin Oldenburg joined Pudlosky on the all-tournament team from UWM.