UW-La Crosse pitching held the UW-Platteville offense to six hits and turned two double plays in each game en route to a doubleheader sweep on Thursday afternoon at Kendall Murray Field. Both teams entered Thursday’s doubleheader with identical marks of 6-8 and in a tie for fourth for the final spot in the WIAC Tournament.
The Eagles (16-11, 8-8 WIAC) scored three times in the second inning en route to a 3-1 win in the opener and scored six runs after an early 2-1 deficit for a 7-4 win in the nightcap. The two losses drop UW-Platteville to 8-19 overall and 6-10 in WIAC play.
After Eagles’ starter Mitch Running got out of the first inning with the first of two double plays. The UW-La Crosse offense came back to score three times on three hits for the early lead in the second inning.
With a 3-0 lead, Running took charge and held UW-Platteville to just two hits after the opening two innings. His counterpart, Mike Hooker for UW-Platteville kept the Eagles off the scoreboard, stranding two runners each in the fourth and fifth innings.
Facing a 3-0 deficit, the Pioneers scored an unearned run in the fifth. Christian Ferchau started the inning, reaching on an error and advancing to second on the throw. After a ground out and fly out, Cody Luther drove in Ferchau to cut the deficit to two, 3-1.
The next threat for the Pioneers came in the eighth with two out as Brett Benesh and Levi Ney singled to put runners on first and second. Eagles’ reliever Zach Lauersdorf, who entered in the seventh after Running came down with an injury, got a fly out to keep UW-Platteville from drawing any closer.
With the win, Running raises his record to 4-1 overall and Lauersdorf picks up his fifth save for the Eagles. UW-La Crosse spread the nine hits among seven players, including Zach Harazin and Corey Geary, who each had two hits.
Pioneer starter Mike Hooker pitched six innings, allowing eight hits, three runs – all earned in the loss to fall to 1-2. Tyler Nelson came out of the bullpen for UW-Platteville and pitched the final three innings of one-hit relief. Brett Benesh had two of the six hits for the Pioneers.
After stranding the bases loaded in the first on just one hit, UW-Platteville took an early 2-1 lead in the second inning when they capitalized on a pair of wild pitches by UW-La Crosse pitching.
The Pioneers held the lead until UW-La Crosse scored twice in the fifth when they plated two runs on three doubles that were hit to nearly identical parts of Kendall Murray Field in left center.
Holding on to a 4-2 lead, the Eagles added to their lead with three runs on three hits to extend the lead to 7-2 in the eighth. The Pioneers came back with two in its half of the eighth on just one hit. With the bases loaded, UW-Platteville shortstop Tyler Jacobson drove in a pair on a two-out single up the middle for his second hit of the afternoon.
UW-Platteville starter Davis Lenzen pitched seven strong innings, scattering nine hits, five runs – four earned in a loss to fall to 2-3.
His counterpart for UW-La Crosse, Bryant Rude went 7 1/3 innings, giving up five hits for four runs – all earned and striking out six in the win to improve to 3-3. In relief of Rude, Skyler Debilzen went the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing just hit for UW-La Crosse. Offensively, Adam Cordova was 4-for-4 with two runs scored to lead a 13-hit attack. Cole Cefalu, Jay Fanta and Corey Geary each added two hits apiece.
The two teams will resume the series on Friday with first pitch scheduled for noon at Kendall Murray Field.