UW-Whitewater takes WIAC crown

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WHITEWATER, Wis.--The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team defeated UW-La Crosse 8-3 Saturday at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium in Whitewater to capture the 2017 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship (presented by Culver's) for the fifth time in program history. With the victory, the Warhawks (35-7 overall) clinch the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship beginning next week.
The Warhawks had an opportunity to claim the title one game earlier, but UW-La Crosse rallied with a five-run ninth inning to win 9-8 and force a winner-take-all game in the double-elimination tournament.
Game 1
After two quick outs to start the bottom of the first, Brett Krause doubled down the right field line to keep the Warhawks alive in the inning. Steve Chamberlain followed with a blast over the right field wall, his eighth homerun of the season, to give UW-Whitewater a 2-0 lead after one.
UW-La Crosse retaliated in the top of the second with a lazy single down the right field line that plated two to tie the game.
Matt Wary doubled to left center to start the bottom of the second for the Warhawks and came around to score two batters later on a single by Mike Aiello. Aiello moved up to third on a Jeff Szubert double down the left field line and came in to score on a balk. Szubert followed moments later scoring on a fielder's choice to make it 5-2.
The Eagles scored one run on a ground-out in the top of the third to inch closer at 5-3 but the Warhawks got that run, plus one more, back in the bottom of the fourth. A one-out double by Szubert got things started and two batters later Blake Flesichmann launched a homerun over the scoreboard in right field to score two and give the Warhawks a 7-3 lead.
Aiello singled in a run for the Warhawks in the bottom of the fifth, getting back a run they gave up in the top of the inning, to make it 8-4.
The bats fell silent for both teams until the top of the ninth. The Eagles picked up a quick out before Alex Brown made it 8-5 with a solo shot to right center field. They added another run on an error and things escalated quickly. A two-RBI double tied things up and a subsequent single gave the Eagles a 9-8 lead.
UW-Whitewater went down quietly in the bottom of the inning and the teams were forced to play a winner-take-all game seven.
Game 2
The first three innings went quickly, with only three hits between the two teams.
The Warhawks busted the game open in the top of the fourth. Fleischmann led the inning off with a single to center and moved up to third base on two consecutive balks. Krause followed with a single to score him and give the Warhawks a 1-0 lead. Another single and a hit batsmen loaded the bases and the third balk of the inning made it 2-0. After a pitching change, Matt Wary singled in two more and came around to score two batters later to make it 5-0.
The persistent Eagles fought back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth to make it 5-3.
UW-Whitewater added some insurance in the top of the seventh with a Matt Warytwo-RBI single to left field and a Cal Aldridge RBI single up the middle to make it 8-3.
UW-La Crosse loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth.
Michael Kaska came on to pitch the final three innings giving up two hits while striking out six to secure the victory. Ankur Shah pitched the first six innings to pick up his fifth win of the season.
The Warhawks will be making their 10th consecutive NCAA Division III Championship appearance and 20th in program history.