By Chris Lindeke
Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications and Branding
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Sunday, May 30, 2021
The No. 5 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team will play for the NCAA Whitewater Regional championship, clinching its spot in the title game with a 9-4 victory Sunday against Texas Lutheran at Prucha Field at Miller Stadium.
The Warhawks (40-6 overall) will face No. 10 Adrian (Mich.), which defeated UW-W 3-2 earlier Sunday, at 11 a.m. Monday. The winner of Monday’s game will advance to the NCAA Division III World Series, which begins this week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Against Texas Lutheran (30-14), UW-Whitewater jumped out to a 7-0 lead through 4 1/2 innings and held off the 24th-ranked Bulldogs, who drew to within 7-4 thanks to three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and one more in the seventh.
Pinch hitter Ben Wilkins knocked a two-out, two-run triple to right center in the top of the ninth inning to give the Warhawks a pair of key insurance runs. Hayden Fox pitched around a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame to send UW-W to the regional championship game.
Starting pitcher Donovan Brandl earned the win, striking out four over five-plus innings to moe to 7-1 on the year. Connor Moroder tossed the next two innings, and Ben Muscatello pitched a scoreless eighth before giving way to Fox in the ninth.
The Warhawks started the scoring in the top of the second inning on a two-out, run-scoring single through the left side by catcher Ryan Norton. In the third, Brandl hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded for an RBI, and left fielder Matt Korman hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 advantage.
In the fourth, second baseman Sam Vomhof hit an RBI double off the wall in left field, and third baseman Tucker Criswell drove a two-run homer deep out to left field to make it 6-0.
Centerfielder Zach Campbell added another run in the fifth with a run-scoring double down the left field line.
Texas Lutheran put a pair of runners on base with two outs trailing by three in the eighth, but Muscatello induced a flyout to end the threat.
In the first game of the day against Adrian (35-8), UW-Whitewater trailed 1-0 after the Bulldogs plated a run in the top of the fifth, but took the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run single through the left side by shortstop Nick Santoro.
Adrian retook the lead in the top of the ninth with a pair of runs. In the bottom of the ninth, pinch runner Eric Hughes was thrown out on a close play at the plate trying to score on Norton’s fly ball to right field.
Connor Spear took the tough-luck loss on the mound, striking out seven over eight innings of work and falling to 6-1 on the year.
Santoro led the offense with three hits, and Korman tallied a pair of doubles and one run scored.Brandl and Wilkins also added hits.