May 8, 2013
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team has two tough assignments on its agenda for the week. First up, the team looks for a season sweep of its three Big Ten opponents in 2013, taking on Minnesota in a midweek afternoon contest. Then, on the weekend, the Panthers host their final three Horizon League games of the season with a league title hanging in the balance.
The Last Meeting
February 26, 2012
Panthers Get More Strong Pitching, Split Series At Minnesota
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team broke open a 1-1 game with three runs in the seventh inning en route to a 6-1 victory over the University of Minnesota Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome. The Panthers (2-5) received another strong performance on the mound to earn the split in the four-game weekend series against the Gophers (3-4).
UWM Game Notes
Wednesday's contest against the Gophers gets underway at 3 p.m., with live audio available as well as a fee-based video option. Milwaukee looks to go 3-0 against the Big Ten, having already defeated Northwestern and Iowa earlier this spring.
The series against the Penguins gets underway with a TV game Friday, set for a first pitch of 3 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, with Scott Warras and Bill Johnson on the call. Saturday is set to start at 1 p.m., with Sunday's finale getting underway at 12 p.m. Sunday will also serve as "Senior Day", with a pregame ceremony to honor the seven seniors on the 2013 roster.
Live statistics will be available on the UWM website via GameTracker and each of the remaining home games will also have a live audio broadcast by members of the Milwaukee Sports Information office.
The team will have no break after the weekend is over, heading to Illinois to take on Chicago State Monday and then wrap up the regular season with a doubleheader at home against Northern Illinois.
The 2012 campaign marks the 49th season of baseball at UWM. It is also the 44th season of varsity play (the program was played at the club level from 1982-1986) and the 23rd in the Panthers NCAA Division I era.
LOOKING AT THE OPPONENTS
The Gophers opened brand-new Siebert Field this season and have posted a 28-15 overall mark on the campaign. The offense bats .267 overall, led by Andy Henkemeyer (.329, 24 RBI), Connor Schaefbauer (.319, 17 RBI) and Kurt Schlangen (.305, 14 RBI). The team ERA is 2.82, with probable starter Ty McDevitt checking in at 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 2013.
The Penguins will carry a 14-34 overall record, including 8-10 in league play, into play on Friday. First-year head coach Steve Gillispie takes over a team that went 11-44 a year ago but returned Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year in Drew Dosch. Dosch leads the team in 2013 with a .318 average and has driven in 28 runs. Josh White is the only other regular over .300 (at .309) and has driven in 23 runs.
Milwaukee trails Minnesota, 9-4, in the all-time series, but has won three of the past five after splitting a four-game series at the Metrodome in February of 2012. Milwaukee has had the upper hand of late against the Penguins, winning 13 of the past 20 meetings (five of seven in 2012) to give it a 32-26 all-time lead in the series. YSU took two of three at home back in early April in the first meeting of the 2013 campaign.
The Panthers had an up-and-down week, extending their win streak to eight games with three more wins midweek, before getting swept by Valparaiso on the weekend with a couple of eighth-inning meltdowns. The offense hit .291, led by senior Alex Erdmann who batted .438 (7-for-16). Sophomore Luke Meeteer was a one-man wrecking crew, driving in 10 runs in six games while batting .381 (8-for-21).
BREAKING DOWN THE LEAGUE TITLE CHASE
The Panthers certainly did not help themselves in the race for the Horizon League regular-season championship last week when they dropped three games to Valparaiso. Now 11-7, UWM still controls its own destiny, knowing that winning all three games against Youngstown State would guarantee them at least a share of the title. The Crusaders still have six games remaining (Milwaukee has the final bye week), so if the Panthers can sweep YSU, any Valpo loss the rest of the way would give the Panthers the crown by themselves. If UWM goes 2-1, they would need Valpo to drop a pair of games the rest of the way to take the title.
The Panthers will honor their senior class with a pregame ceremony Sunday against Youngstown. Congratulations and best wishes to the seven-member class: #6 Jonathan Capasso, #10 Cale Tassi, #12 Jake Long, #14 Alex Erdmann, #20 Will Fadness, #23 Nick Lingvay and #27 Drew Pearson.
THE 200 CLUB
In the history of the Milwaukee baseball program, eight players have recorded over 200 career hits at the NCAA Division I level after Paul Hoenecke accomplished the feat last season. Two players passed that milestone in 2011, as Doug Dekoning and Cole Kraft both finished above the prestigious number. Senior Jonathan Capasso looks to become the ninth player this season.
Below is the current list of the "200 Club".
1. Jesse Hart (2005-08): 267 career hits
2. Doug Dekoning (2008-11): 260
3. Cole Kraft (2008-11): 250
4. Darin Haugom (1997-2001): 245
5. Paul Hoenecke (2009-12): 242
6. Ross McCoy (2004-07): 220
7. Charlie Reschke (2002-05): 213
8. Nick Wichser (2004-08): 206
~Capasso: 198 (was at 157 entering 2013)
MOTHER NATURE WASN'T TOO KIND
The spring of 2013 was nothing but bad luck for Milwaukee when it came to playing on its home field. If every game had been played, UWM would have had 12 games at home under its belt before the opener against Northwestern April 24. There have been postponements, cancellations and even a series moved to UIC's field in Chicago. The Panthers were 29 games into the campaign, just one off the program mark (30, in 2008) for most games played before a home opener. The April 24 date is also one for the record book, becoming the latest-ever home opener in history (April 19 in 2001 was the previous mark).
FOLLOW THE LEADER
Michael Porcaro continues to produce at the plate during his impressive sophomore campaign. As of Monday, he was ranked in the top three in the Horizon League in average (.375, 1st), on-base percentage (.424, 3rd), runs (34, 2nd), hits (57, 2nd), RBI (36, 2nd), doubles (11, 3rd), triples (3, 3rd), slugging percentage (.520, 2nd), total bases (79, 3rd) and throw in sacrifice flies as well (7, 1st). He has done all of this despite UWM's scheduling woes, which have seen him play at least six fewer games than any other league school.
CHECK ME OUT TOO
Sophomore Derek Peake has shared a spot among the Horizon League batting leaders with teammate Michael Porcaro all season long as well. He is finally healthy and having a great season. Peake currently sits fifth in the Horizon League in average (.336), first in on-base percentage (.437), third in hit-by-pitches (12) and fourth in stolen bases (12).
Taking a look at the Horizon League statistics for team numbers, the Panthers are number one in batting average (.292) and on-base percentage (.371) on the offensive side of the ball and first in opponent batting average (.265) and third in ERA (4.38) on the mound.
IN SHORT, LONG'S BEEN GREAT
Senior Jake Long has been nothing short of phenomenal since moving into the starting rotation against Austin Peay March 8. He went 6-0 in his first seven starts, posting a 0.96 ERA in 56.1 innings of work, while throwing four complete games and three shutouts. The loss to Valpo May 3 was his first since late February. He currently leads the league with a 1.88 ERA and is tops in the NCAA with those three shutouts.
The list of achievements is impressive. And getting longer:
-When he earned Horizon League Pitcher of the Week honors March 18, it was a career-first. The second time marked a program first, as it was the first time a UWM pitcher ever received the award back-to-back.
-When Long did it yet again April 1, it marked the first time any pitcher in Horizon League history had ever been honored for three consecutive weeks.
-Long ended up throwing back-to-back shutouts and three complete games in a row at one point. The last UWM pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts was Robert Michalkiewicz in April of 2007.
-No Panther pitcher had ever thrown three complete games in a row.
-Long has also ran his scoreless-inning streak up to 26.0 to break the school record (22.1 by Michalkiewicz in 2007) and approached the Horizon League record of 31.0 set by Butler's John Corcoran in 2002.
-The three shutouts is a UWM single-season record.
SCHNEIDER GOING STRONG OUT OF THE GATES
Junior Mike Schneider continues to be one of the top pitchers in the Horizon League through 13 appearances. He improved to 7-2 last week and now sports a 3.23 earned run average. He is first in the league in wins, fourth in strikeouts (49), fifth in ERA and 10th in innings pitched (61.1). His 10 strikeouts against Valparaiso March 30 set a career-high.
ABOUT THOSE SHUTOUTS
The Panthers recorded back-to-back shutouts against UIC March 22-23, something that is very rare in the history of the program. Milwaukee has never had three consecutive shutouts and the last time it had back-to-back whitewashes was April 5, 2000, when the Panthers defeated Wisconsin Lutheran in a doubleheader by scores of 19-0 and 17-0. In fact, it's only been accomplished two other times prior to that: a doubleheader against Chicago State on April 28, 1998 (6-0 and 8-0 twinbill sweep) and also against the Flames in April of 1995 (winning 1-0 and 2-0 on back-to-back days).
ALL HE DOES IS DROP BOMBS
Senior Drew Pearson became the first Panther to hit more than one home run in a game this year when he went deep twice against Wright State March 16. The multi-HR game is the first of his career and also the first for a UWM player since Will Fadness did on April 4, 2012. He went deep again against UIC April 23, giving him three pinch-hit home runs (out of six total bombs) in his career. He also went deep in pinch-hitting appearances against Bradley in 2010 and UALR in 2012.
PRESEASON NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Various publications and websites came out with their college baseball previews and players from the Milwaukee roster earned numerous mentions.
Baseball America selected Milwaukee to be the 2013 Horizon League champion in its "College Preview" issue. It picks the Panthers to be the favorite to claim the league title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. The publication also predicts senior Cale Tassi to be the league pitcher of the year. Sophomore Joshua Uhen (No. 2) and junior Sam Koenig (No. 5) are listed in the "Top Prospects, 2013-14 MLB Drafts" and junior transfer Pat Wilson is one of three top newcomers listed.
The "College Sports Madness" website also had Tassi as the preseason pitcher of the year. In addition, it had Tassi and sophomore Luke Meeteer as members of its preseason first-team all-league squad and Koenig, senior Jonathan Capasso and sophomore Michael Porcaro as members of its second-team.
The "College Baseball Insider" website compiled numerous lists with Milwaukee players receiving plenty of accolades. Tassi was one of three "Top Starting Pitchers" and also the "Pitcher You Least Want To Face". Senior Will Fadness was tabbed the "Best Defensive Catcher" and one of the "Biggest Power Threats" in the conference. The speedy Meeteer was honored with the titles of the "Best Defensive Outfielder" and the "Best Baserunner".
HOW'S THAT FOR A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
It may have taken Luke Meeteer a couple of weeks to become an everyday starter in the outfield as a freshman in 2012, but once he was there he never let up. Meeteer went on to earn First-Team All-Horizon League honors and a spot on the All-Newcomer squad. He batted a team-high .331 in 48 games, scoring 35 runs and recording 57 hits. He ranked eighth in the league in batting average and led the conference with 16 stolen bases. He ended the season with an active 20 game hitting streak, which had already tied for the fifth-longest in school history (Note: Meeteer had his streak stopped at 23 against New Mexico State).
32: Mike Goetz, 2006
27: Mike Goetz, 2005 (8 games) to 2006 (19)
24: Nick Wichser, 2008
23: Luke Meeteer, 2012 (20) to 2013 (3)
22: Scott Gillitzer, 2001
20: Rob Brockel, 2007
Meeteer became the first Panther freshman in NCAA Division I era to record a five-hit game, going 5-for-6 against Butler in the Horizon League Tournament May 24 and was also the first Milwaukee freshman to be named first-team all-league since Chad Sadowski in 1997.
The 11-0 win over New Mexico State Feb. 15 couldn't come much sooner to start a new campaign, happening in the second game of the year. The only other time a UWM team ever topped that was in 2006, when the Panthers blanked Saint Mary's (CA), 2-0, in the season opener. The other time the Milwaukee pitching staff was able to record an early-season shutout was 2002, when the Panthers beat Radford, 2-0, in the fourth game on the schedule that season.
Milwaukee was picked to finish second in the 2013 Horizon League preseason baseball poll. Valparaiso was the favorite to win the title in balloting by the conference's five head coaches. The Crusaders, who captured last season's regular season and tournament title, received three first place votes. Milwaukee, which finished second in the poll, received the other two first place votes. Wright State finished in third in the preseason poll, behind Valparaiso and Milwaukee. UIC was fourth and Youngstown State rounded out the poll in fifth.
Senior Cale Tassi was voted as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year and Youngstown State third baseman Drew Dosch was named the Preseason Player of the Year in voting of the coaches. Wright State finished in third in the preseason poll, behind Valparaiso and Milwaukee. UIC was fourth and Youngstown State rounded out the poll in fifth. For the first time the league also has announced a preseason all-conference team. Tassi and freshman Luke Meeteer represented the Panthers on the 13-member squad.
2013 Horizon League Preseason Baseball Poll
1. Valparaiso (3 first place votes)
2. Milwaukee (2 first place votes)
3. Wright State
5. Youngstown State
PROGRAM FIRST IN 2012 MLB DRAFT
The Milwaukee baseball program has never had more than one player get selected in the Major League Baseball Draft in the same year in program history. But, following the 2012 season, head coach Scott Doffek saw three of his players chosen in the 2012 MLB Draft with Jordan Guth (Philadelphia Phillies; ninth round), Eric Semmelhack (Milwaukee Brewers; 12th round) and Paul Hoenecke (Los Angeles Dodgers; 24th round) all hearing their names called on draft day. That makes four players in the past two seasons, as Chad Pierce (Milwaukee Brewers; 38th round) was taken in the 2011 MLB Draft.
The Panthers' pitching has been steadily getting better each season and was taken to a new level in 2012. Prior to the 2011 campaign, the school record for ERA was 4.18 and that stood since 2002. In 2011, UWM just got by that mark at 4.16. The new 2012 total of 3.73 shattered the record that lasted for just 12 months. In addition, the .262 opponent average was the third-lowest in team history, just off the program record of .256 set in 2002.
PANTHERS IN THE PROS
In the past two years, the Milwaukee baseball program has seen four of its players get drafted in Chad Pierce (Milwaukee Brewers), Eric Semmelhack (Brewers), Paul Hoenecke (LA Dodgers) and Jordan Guth (Philadelphia Phillies). After successful 2012 campaigns, each is back in the minors in 2013. Pierce is with the Brevard County Manatees in the Class A Advanced Florida State League (1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 7 games). Semmelhack is with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Class A Midwest League (1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 3 games). Hoenecke is a member of the Great Lakes Loons in the Class A Midwest League (batting .302 in 22 games). And, Guth is with the Lakewood BlueClaws in the Class A South Atlantic League (1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in 5 games).
Sophomore Michael Porcaro is back for his second season of putting together the baseball blog, chronicling the exploits of the team in detail once again. This year, he is joined by sophomore Eric King. Find the link to "Diamond Chronicles" off the baseball page or go to:
You can also follow the baseball team on Twitter @UWM_Baseball. In addition, assistant SID Chris Zills will be updating game scores and highlights when in attendance all season long on his Twitter account at @sidzills.
The Panthers will have the final weekend of the regular season off with the bye week from league play. The Horizon League Tournament starts the following week, getting underway May 22.