April 6, 2010
This Week In Milwaukee Baseball
Milwaukee Panthers (10-13) vs. Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors (4-10)
Henry Aaron Field, Milwaukee, Wis.
Thur., April 8 at 4 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series 8-0
Milwaukee Panthers (10-13) vs. St. Norbert Green Knights (8-6)
Henry Aaron Field, Milwaukee, Wis.
Fri., April 9 at 3 p.m.
First meeting in all-time series
The homestand continues this week for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team, as it plays two more games at Henry Aaron Field. The Panthers welcome a pair of in-state NCAA Division III opponents - Wisconsin Lutheran College and St. Norbert College - to their home field Thursday and Friday. UWM will look to extend an impressive streak once again this week, as it enters play with a school-record 18-game win streak at home. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday against the Warriors and then will be at 3 p.m. Friday against the Green Knights.
Complete Release in PDF Format
The Panthers lead the all-time series with WLC by a count of 8-0. The two teams met last year - a 16-2 UWM victory - for the first time since 2002. Milwaukee has averaged 14.5 runs in the series, while giving up less than two per game. Milwaukee and SNC have never met on the baseball diamond. They were scheduled for a game in April of 2009 that was rained out.
The 2010 campaign marks the 46th season of baseball at UWM. It is also the 41st season of varsity play (the program was played at the club level from 1982-1986) and the 20th in the Panthers NCAA Division I era.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
The Warriors are 4-10 and will host Finlandia for a doubleheader Wednesday before taking on the Panthers. They are batting .306 as a team, led by Justin Barkhurst and his .447 average and 14 runs batted in. Sam Braaten (.412) is also having a strong season at the plate. In their most recent action, they split a twinbill with Dominican, winning, 7-3, and losing, 12-3.
The Green Knights are 8-6, host Concordia for two games Tuesday and are playing very well. They recently defeated No. 15 UW-Stevens Point and swept a doubleheader from UW-Oshkosh for the first time in 28 years. The team is hitting .327 overall, with five regular starters batting .333 or better. That list is led by dual-threat Tony Jandron, batting .480 with a team-best 15 RBI at the plate, while also going 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA (22 K in 21.2 IP) on the mound. Matt Hannon (.397, 13 RBI) is also one of the offensive leaders.
It was quite a week for the Panthers, winning all five games they played. Both sides of the ball were firing on all cylinders, with the offense batting .353 and the pitching staff recording a 2.85 ERA. Three batters hit .350 or better, led by seniors Dan Buchholz at .556 (10-for-18) and Tim Patzman at .471 (8-for-17). Junior Cole Kraft also had a great week at the plate at .357 (5-for-14). On the mound, senior Jeff Gordon was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, while sophomore Cameron Amsrud was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA in three appearances. Junior Chad Pierce threw a complete-game and allowed just one run against Cleveland State, striking out six.
ABOUT THAT HOME STREAK
The Panthers will look to extend their winning streak at home to 20 games with a pair of victories this week. After going 14-1 at home in 2009, the team carried a school-record 13-game home win streak into the new campaign, extending it to the current 18 with a 5-0 start at the "Hank" so far. The old record of 12 straight wins at home was set in 2002, when the team went 16-4 at Henry Aaron Field that season.
"THE MOST EXCITING PLAY IN BASEBALL"
After 18 games in 2010, UWM had just two triples to its credit on the season. After five games at home last week, that number has been upped to nine with seven in the past five games. That included three in one game against Parkside, the most since setting the program record with four against Akron March 18, 2006. It also included two in the same game off the bat off junior Doug Dekoning, tying the school mark set three other times. Dekoning now has four on the year to tie for the league lead. It's also the most in a season since Mike Goetz had six in 2006. Prior to that, the last player to have more then four in a season was Ken Poniewaz, also with six, back in 1997.
Senior Ben Long came through with his second multi-home run game of season against Cleveland State April 2, hitting two solo shots in the 4-1 victory (he also hit three HR against SIU Edwardsville in March). That marks the first time a player has had more then one multi-HR game in a season since Joe Nowicki hit two long balls on a pair of occasions in 2006 (April 22 and May 20).
LET'S HIT THE ROAD...
The Panthers had been busy waiting for the snow to melt and Henry Aaron Field to be ready for them to play in Milwaukee. They played 18-straight road games to open the 2010 slate (20 were scheduled). That seems easier compared to other seasons, as the record for longest season-opening road trip was set at 30 games in 2008. The Panthers traveled over 6,300 miles over the course of the first five weeks of the season via plane or bus, visiting five different states (Arkansas twice, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kansas and Illinois twice) before playing their home opener March 30 against Parkside.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK GETTING ROUTINE
Sophomore Cameron Amsrud was named Horizon League Pitcher of the Week after saving two games and winning another in three appearances (5.2 scoreless IP) last week. That marks the third time this season a UWM pitcher has been chosen for the honor. Junior Chad Pierce was tabbed March 22, the second-straight (senior Jordan Herbert March 15) to be honored. The last time UWM won two-consecutive league pitcher of the week awards was May of 2002 (Quintin Oldenburg and Geoff Lefeber). The last time it had more than three pitchers win the award in one season was 2005, when four were named (Aaron Sorenson three times and Rick Cavaiani once).
PITCHING MAKING A NAME
The Panthers offense is a known commodity and the team currently is among the league leaders with a .308 batting average. However, so far in 2010, the pitching staff has been making quite a name for itself as well and also leads the league, topping the charts with a 4.37 ERA (second is WSU at 5.71).
Junior Chad Pierce and senior Jordan Herbert are leading the way, as both are among the league leaders in ERA and opponent batting average. Pierce leads the conference in both categories with a 2.32 ERA and .213 opponent average. Herbert is second at .245 and seventh in ERA at 4.74. In addition, sophomore Kyle Schmidt gives the team three in the top 10, currently sixth at 4.69.
LET THE LEAGUE GAMES BEGIN!
Milwaukee is happy to see the start of conference play, as it has posted the second-best record in Horizon League games of any team since 1995, UWM's first year in the Horizon League/MCC. In that time, the Panthers have gone 193-137 (.585), while posting a 7-9 record in league openers (only UIC, at .607, is higher). A year ago, UWM topped Valparaiso, 6-5, behind a strong start by Brad Lusti.
SENIORS WARMING UP
Senior Tim Patzman had his nine-game hit streak come to a close March 26 at UIC, tying his career-best. He followed that with his current seven-game streak to now hit safely in 16 of his past 17 contests. Since March 6 against SIU Edwardsville, Patzman has raised his batting average 130 points (from .261 to .391) by going 28-for-64 (.438) in those 17 games, scoring 15 runs, slugging at a .625 clip and recording a .486 on-base percentage in the stretch.
Senior Dan Buchholz had a great week at home, going 10-for-18 to raise his season average to .345. He enters play this week on a nine-game hitting streak, including a stretch of six-consecutive games with more then one hit. Since March 24 at Northern Illinois, Buchholz has batted .455 (15-for-33) with nine runs scored, a .667 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage.
PLAY IT AGAIN SAMMY
Junior Sam Sivilotti has made the most of his increased playing time this season, already topping his career totals in most categories just 23 games into his junior campaign. In 19 games, Sivilotti is second on the team with a .365 average and has gone 14-for-33 (.424) while hitting safely in nine of the last 10 games. Coming into the season, he had career totals of 34 at bats, six starts, nine hits and two RBI in limited action. As a regular in 2010, he has already made 15 starts, 52 at bats, recorded 19 hits and driven in 13 runs.
Milwaukee has seen it's share of heartache this season, losing five games in the final at bat of the contest, including a walkoff loss against UIC March 27. The Panthers are putting themselves in position to win quite regularly, but have not been able to close it out. Late scoring by the opponent has been a problematic situation all season, as UWM has been outscored, 58-14, from the start of the seventh inning on in 2010.
Senior Ben Long did something that has only been done on just a pair of occasions in UWM's NCAA Division I history when he hit three home runs in the same game against SIU Edwardsville March 6. The home runs, all solo blasts coming in the first, fourth and fifth innings, marked the first time a UWM player hit at least three in over 10 years. Both of the other occurrences happened during the 1999 season, with Todd Ludwig setting the school record with four (March 17 vs. Tennessee Tech) and Chad Sadowksi hitting three (April 28 vs. Concordia).
NOW THAT'S GRAND
Not to be lost in the home-run headlines from the game against SIUE was senior Dan Buchholz's grand slam in the first inning. The slam was the first of Buchholz's career and the first since the 2008 season for Milwaukee. Since the Panthers hit four of them in the 2006 season (Matt Curran/Ross McCoy/Zak Rivera/Matt Curran), just two more have been hit since then. Kyle Silver cleared the bases against Chicago State May 8, 2007 and Jesse Hart recorded the slam against Wright State in the league tournament May 22, 2008.
The shutout that seniors Jordan Herbert (5.0 innings) and Lucas Annen (4.0 innings) combined for against Dayton March 7 was impressive on a few fronts. First off, the Flyers had come into the game averaging over eight runs and 11 hits in their first 11 games. Besides the zero runs, the pair of hurlers also surrendered just five hits on the day. That was the fewest in a game for UWM since allowing just three in a 12-1 win over Cleveland State May 3 of last season. Secondly, if you look back through the record book, there has been just one shutout thrown earlier, by date or team game, in program history. That came in the 2006 season, when the Panthers beat St. Mary's (CA), 2-0, in the season opener Feb 10, behind seven scoreless innings from Robert Michalkiewicz.
Scoring 20 runs in a game is impressive, which is what Milwaukee did against SIU Edwardsville in game one March 6, a 20-2 victory. That marked just the 19th time it has happened in UWM's NCAA D-I history (almost 1,000 games) and the first since beating Wright State, 20-3, in the 2008 Horizon League Tournament. The most impressive thing about Saturday's result was that Milwaukee was playing a seven-inning game against the Cougars, so the runs came in just six innings. The team scored five in the first, three in the second, a pair in the third, five in the fourth, one in the fifth and then four more in the sixth to reach the total of 20 in the contest.
Senior Dan Buchholz showed off his power potential, hitting two home runs against Arkansas State in game two Feb. 27. At the time, it marked the first multi-homer game for UWM since Tim Patzman and Doug Dekoning both hit two against Chicago State April 7 of last season. It also marked one of the earliest-ever by date, with only Josh Groves two-HR game in the season opener in 2008 (Feb. 22) coming sooner than Buchholz's outing.
LUCKY 7? ... UM, MAKE IT 6
When looking at the results so far in 2010, one number sticks out. The Panthers are 8-1 when scoring at least six runs but 2-12 when scoring fewer. The wins over Cleveland State marked the first time this year they won when scoring fewer than six.
PRESEASON NATIONAL SHOWINGS
Rivals.com predicted the Panthers to finish third in the league standings, following Wright State and UIC. The site also picked a preseason all-conference squad that included senior Tim Patzman and junior Doug Dekoning.
Collegebaseballinsider.com did not project an order of finish, but did select the Raiders as the team to beat. The website polled the league head coaches and came up with the following spots where UWM was represented:
~The best defensive outfielder is: Doug Dekoning, Milwaukee
~The three best pure hitters are: Casey McGrew, Wright State; Tim Patzman, Milwaukee; Quentin Cate, Wright State
~The three biggest power threats are: Quentin Cate, Wright State; Casey McGrew, Wright State; Tim Patzman, Milwaukee
The website CollegeBaseballToday.com projected Wright State as the favorite and Milwaukee and UIC as "contenders". It lists seniors Ben Long and Tim Patzman, juniors Doug Dekoning and Cole Kraft and sophomores Paul Hoenecke and Cameron Amsrud as all-conference candidates.
START THE COUNTDOWNS
Two historic victories should be within reach this spring, as the Panthers will enter the 2010 season 23 wins away from 500 at the NCAA Division I level as a program, currently sitting with 477 at the D-I level. Also, Scott Doffek starts the campaign 22 wins away from No. 100 as the UWM head coach.
Milwaukee recorded 25-plus wins for the 12th time in the past 13 years in 2009, a season in which head coach Scott Doffek was named Horizon League Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a second-place finish in the league standings.
Doffek's team had a league-high four first team all-league selections a year ago and set a school record by going 14-1 at home. That established new standards for home-game winning percentage (.933) and also with a 13-game home winning streak that will carry over into 2010. He has won 78 games in his first three seasons, a school record, after already establishing marks for most victories by a first-year head coach (25) and most after his first two seasons (50). He was rewarded with a new three-year contract following the season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Panthers took the phrase "home field advantage" to a new level in 2009. In 15 games at "The Hank" and at Miller Park, Milwaukee went 14-1 and sported a .363 batting average and 2.98 ERA as a team (Note: UWM did lose a make-up game at Cleveland State in May as the `home' team). Seven regular starters batted over .300 and four were at .404 or higher. Senior Tim Patzman (.490) led the way with an impressive 25-for-51 showing, hitting six home runs and driving in 20 runs in the 15 games. Josh Groves (.429) was next, recording a .491 on-base percentage and scoring 15 runs. Third on the list was sophomore Paul Hoenecke, (.423), who batted 22-for-52 and knocked in 20 runs and scored 15 times. Shawn Wozniak (.404) was also over .400, going 19-for-47 and scoring 16 times with 14 RBI. UWM hit 19 home runs compared to just two for its opponents. On the mound, the staff compiled a sparkling 2.98 ERA. Brad Lusti (2.88 ERA, 21 K's in 25.0 IP) and Andy Hetebrueg (2.74 ERA, 21 K's in 32.0 IP) were both 2-0 in three home starts.
JUMP RIGHT IN
Junior Doug Dekoning carried a 16-game hitting streak into the new campaign. He hit safely in the first two games in 2010 to extend it to 18 - a personal-best. Dekoning went 28-for-75 (.373) in that stretch. The 18-game streak marks the longest for UWM since Nick Wichser had a 24-game streak at the end of the 2008 campaign.
READY TO GO
Sophomore Paul Hoenecke stepped right in as a freshman last season, earning Horizon League All-Newcomer Team honors after batting .286 with 30 runs batted in. He appeared in 50 games, with his 46 starts the most for a UWM freshman since Ross McCoy made 50 back in 2004.
The Panthers were picked third in the 2010 Horizon League preseason baseball poll. The Panthers, picked third for the fourth-straight season, will look to improve on their second-place finish from a year ago. Wright State was the unanimous choice for the top spot after going 33-30 last season. It was also the Horizon League Tournament champion in 2009 and returns four all-league performers. The Raiders received six first place votes and 36 points.
UIC comes in second (31 points) and received the other first place vote. The Flames won their eighth-consecutive regular season title in 2009 before getting knocked off by WSU in the tournament championship. UWM sits just behind in third with 24 points after going 28-27 overall last year and taking second place in the regular season standings.
1. Wright State (6) - 36 points
2. UIC (1) - 31 points
3. Milwaukee - 24 points
4. Valparaiso - 22 points
5. Youngstown State - 15 points
6. Cleveland State - 12 points
7. Butler - 7 points
Join junior Sam Sivilotti and sophomore Greg Blohowiak over the course of the 2010 season. They will be posting a weekly blog chronicling the exploits of the team in detail. Find the link to "Diamond Chronicles" off the baseball page or go to:
It is back to the road for the team after seven games at home, playing midweek at Iowa before heading to Indiana on the weekend to take on Butler.