Starting pitchers Bill Oppriecht in game one and Justin Crotty in game two led host UW-Platteville to a doubleheader sweep of UW-Superior on Monday. The Pioners took game one, 6-4 and the nightcap, 3-2.
It is the first doubleheader sweep of the season for the Pioneers, who had split their previous five twinbills of the season. The sweep raises the Pioneers record to 8-17 overall and 6-8 in the WIAC.
Bill Oppriecht tossed 120 pitches on the afternoon in a seven-inning stint to raise his record to 2-3. He allowed eight hits, two runs – both earned but the Seneca native also struck out a season-high eight batters in the process. The sophomore made timely pitches when he needed to throughout the contest as the Yellow Jackets stranded runners on base in every inning en route to 15 for the game. Pioneers’ closer junior Grant Oldenburg struck out two in the ninth for his third save of the season.
In the win, the second through the five spot in the lineup gave Oppriecht plenty of support with all nine of the hits and five RBI. Senior Brett Benesh tied a season-high with three hits to lead the attack.
In the loss for UW-Superior, Shaun Marshall went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and Mike Labelle went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the loss. Yellow Jackets’ starter Ethan Branum pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs, all earned to fall to 0-5.
The Pioneers plated three runs each in the fourth and sixth inning for a 6-0 lead. Starting each of the threats for the Pioneers with singles was Benesh. He would come in to score in the fourth on a RBI double by Levi Ney in the fourth and capitalize on a fielding error by the Yellow Jackets in the sixth.
UW-Superior scored twice each in the seventh and eighth to cut the UW-Platteville lead to two, 6-4. The Yellow Jackets nearly cut the lead to one in the top of the 8th. With two out and runners on second and third, Loegering hit a ball that was bobbled behind second base by the Pioneers’ shortstop. When UW-Platteville’s Tyler Jacobson had regained possession of the ball, a hustling Yellow Jackets’ Rhett Williamson attempted to score from third, who was thrown out on by Jacobson at the plate to preserve the two-run lead.
Picking up where Bill Oppriecht left off in game one, Justin Crotty rose to the occasion in the nightcap. The Shullsburg native pitched a season-high seven innings and struck out a season-high nine to improve to 3-4 on the season. Nate Poelmann finished the final two innings of one-hit relief for his first save. Offensively, junior catcher Jared Baroni led the Pioneers with a season-high three hits to lead a seven-hit attack.
For UW-Superior, Rhett Williamson, Mike Labelle and Tony Remund had two hits apiece to lead the Yellow Jackets. Starting pitcher Nick Bursik pitched six innings of six-hit baseball, scattering six hits and striking out three in the loss to fall to 1-4.
UW-Superior got on the board in the first inning with a two-out RBI single by Loegering. The Pioneers tied it up on a Tyler Jacobson double, scoring Aaron Hopson who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. The game remained tied until a RBI single by Labelle put the visitors up by a 2-1 margin.
In the seventh, UW-Platteville head coach Eric Frese went to his bench and Bobby Patton delivered a pinch-hit single to start the rally. A walk to Griffin Wiley put Pioneers on first and second to end the day for Bursik. A Brett Benesh sacrifice bunt moved Griffin Wiley to third and brother, Jesse Wiley to second, who had walked earlier in the inning.
Next, Trevor Kattre was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Levi Ney, who would single to left field to tie the game to score Jesse Wiley. With the game tied at 2 and one out, the Pioneers had its hottest hitter at the plate in Aaron Hopson, who hit a sharp ground ball to third to score the go-ahead and eventually game-winning run. Hopson was called out but the run proved to be the difference.
The Yellow Jackets mounted a threat in the ninth with a one-out single off Poelmann before he got a double play to preserve the win for the Pioneers.
Next, the Pioneers will look to extend its winning streak to four games with a mid-week tilt on Tuesday at 3 pm against Coe College at Kendall Murray Field.