AUBURNDALE, Fla. — The sixth/seventh-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks built a 5-2 lead, then held off a University of Southern Maine Huskies’ rally for a 5-4 non-conference victory Monday afternoon at Lake Myrtle Park.
The Warhawks, ranked sixth in last week’s D3baseball.com poll and seventh in the ABCA Division III poll, extended their current winning streak to five games and improved to 7-1 overall. The Huskies slipped back to .500 at 2-2 overall after having their two-game win streak stopped.
UWW took the lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Senior Jordan Kuczynski (Germantown, Wis.) drove in two runs as the Warhawks took advantage of a leadoff triple from sophomore Matt Wary (Elk Grove, Ill.), a walk and a hit batsman to load the bases before Kuczynski’s two-out single.
The Huskies got one run back in the bottom half of the frame loading the bases with no outs, but could only get one on senior Matt Bender’s (Walpole, Mass.) sacrifice fly.
Wary made it 3-1 in the top of the second with an RBI single that scored junior Brent Feldner (Schererville, Ind.) who walked to lead off the inning.
USM put runners on base in its next three turns at the plate, but were unable to come up with a timely base hit against UWW senior starter Ankur Shah (St. Charles, Ill.). In the fifth, sophomore Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) and rookie Andrew Olszak (Danvers, Mass.) led off the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Junior Sam Stauble (Harrison, Maine/Bridgton Academy) lifted a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Quintal and cutting the UWW lead to one.
The Warhawks posted single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to expand their lead to 5-2. The run in the seventh inning was unearned.
Quintal and Olszak opened the Huskies’ seventh with back-to-back singles before Stauble plated Quintal with a single and ending Shah’s day on the hill. Senior Mike Nompleggi (Oconto Falls, Wis.) came on for the Warhawks and surrendered a two-out single to sophomore pinch hitter Kyle O’Connor (Lynn, Mass./Lynn English) that scored Olszak. However, Nompleggi stranded the potential tying run at third getting out of the inning with the first of his three strikeouts.
Nompleggi would retire the Huskies in order in the eighth and ninth innings to record his second save of the season. Shah got his first win going 6.1 innings allowing four runs on 10 hits and two walks while fanning four.
Southern Maine outhit UWW 11-8 in the game. Olszak went 3 for 5 for his second multiple-hit game of the season. Quintal had a pair of singles and scored three runs, and Stauble had two hits and two RBI. Wary led UWW with three hits, including a triple, and scored twice. Kuczynski had two hits and two RBI.
USM sophomore left-handed starter Henry Curran (South Portland, Maine), the first of seven hurlers used by the Huskies, was tagged with the loss after giving up three runs on four hits and four walks over the opening 3.2 innings. Curran struck out six.
Southern Maine has a day off on Tuesday before taking on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a doubleheader on Wednesday (12:00 p.m.) at Lake Myrtle Park. UWW will play Clarkson University on Tuesday (10:00 a.m.) at Chain O Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven, Fla.