AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The No. 6 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team grabbed an early lead and didn't relinquish it Monday afternoon in a 5-4 triumph over Southern Maine on its fourth day at the RussMatt Invitational at Lake Myrtle Park.
The Warhawks (7-1 overall) scored two runs in the top of the first inning and, despite 11 hits by the Huskies, never trailed in the contest.
Senior left-hander Ankur Shah started and picked up his first win of the season, scattering 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out four.
Senior righty Mike Nompleggi relieve Shah with two on and one out in the seventh, allowing only one inherited runner to score and posting 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth en route to his second save of the year. He tallied three strikeouts and surrendered only one hit.
Sophomore left fielder Matt Wary, who made a pair of highlight-reel catches defensively, set the tone early with a leadoff triple in the first. Three batters later, Wary and sophomore third baseman Cal Aldridge came around to score on a two-out, two-run single by senior shortstop Jordan Kuczynski.
Southern Maine (2-2) scored a run in the bottom half of the first, but Shah limited the damage, stranding runners at first and second with a comebacker as the final out of the frame.
UW-Whitewater got the run back in the top of the second when Wary plated junior designated hitter Brent Feldner on a one-out single.
The Huskies pulled to within one run again in the bottom of the fifth, but the Warhawks responded with a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Will Helbing.
After Shah posted a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, UW-Whitewater added an insurance run in the seventh on a run-scoring base hit by Aldridge.
Wary led the offense with three hits, two runs scored and one run batted in. Kuczynski finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Aldridge, junior first baseman Blake Fleischman and junior centerfielder Brett Krause each recorded one hit.
UW-Whitewater continues play Tuesday against Clarkson (N.Y.). First pitch at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven, Fla., is schedule for 9 a.m. Central Time.