No. 1 UW-Whitewater clinches WIAC championship

The No. 1 University of Wisconsin- Whitewater baseball team fell to UW-La Crosse, 8-4, in the first game, and defeated the Eagles, 11-1, in the second game of a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon in La Crosse, Wis.

With the Game 2 victory, the Warhawks (29-6 overall, 18-4 WIAC) clinched at least a share of the program's 18th WIAC regular season championship, including the team's fifth in the last six years. 

UW-Whitewater posted 18 hits from nine different players in the victory.

Junior pitcher Sam Heilenbach (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) tossed the first seven innings, improving his season record to 4-1, and posted six strikeouts.  Freshman pitcher Matt O'Sullivan (Sugar Grove, Ill./Kaneland) finished out the game at the mound and collected three strike-outs.

Junior designated hitter Cal Aldridge (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) contributed a game-high four hits, three runs batted in and two runs, and junior outfielder Matt Wary (Elk Grove, Ill./Elk Grove) added three hits, two RBI and two runs. Senior centerfielder Daytona Bryden (Rockton, IL/Hononegah) added two hits, two RBI and two runs, freshman right fielder Alex Doud (Waukesha, Wis./Mukwonago) tallied two hits and one RBI, junior catcher Mike Aiello (Racine, Wis./Horlick) collected two hits, one RBI and one run and senior Jeff Szubert (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew) registered two hits.

A single from Doud in the first inning sent in Aldridge to give the Warhawks an early 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third, Aldridge doubled down the left field line and Bryden collected the run.

UW-Whitewater's hot hitting continued in the top of the fourth when Wary doubled to center and Aiello scored. That was followed by a sacrifice fly from Bryden to send Wary in.

The Warhawks??? forced three up and three down in the bottom of the fourth and allowed no hits from the Eagles in the fifth inning.

After UW-La Crosse (24-13 overall, 14-8 WIAC) scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Warhawks responded a single from Aiello that sent in sophomore Ben Wilkins (Sussex, Wis./Lake Country Lutheran), followed by a single from Wary that advanced freshman infielder Nick Santoro (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) home to make the score 7-1.

UW-Whitewater extended its lead to nine in the top of the eighth inning, registering three runs and four hits.

Bryden posted a home run in he the top of the ninth to account for the final margin of the game.

Despite the Warhawks posting two early runs in the top of the second inning of the opener, UW-La Crosse posted two home runs and 15 hits for the win.

Senior pitcher Heath Renz (Jefferson, Wis./Jefferson), 5-2 on the season, tossed 6 1/3 innings in the first game and posted six strikeouts.  Sophomore pitcher Riley Gruetzmacher (Oconto Falls, Wis./Oconto Falls)finished the inning and continued through part of the eighth, and senior pitcher Ryan Makuski (Custer, Wis./Amherst) finished out the game.

Doud posted two hits and two runs and Wary added two hits and two RBI for the Warhawks.

In the second inning, Aiello grounded out to second, but collected the RBI as senior first basemen Blake Fleischman (Germantown, Wis./Germantown) ran home and Doud advanced to third.  A single from Wary sent Doud in to make the score 2-0. 

The Eagles responded in the fourth inning with three runs, including a home run.

Doud scored again in the sixth inning to tie the score at 3-3, but UW-La Crosse tallied five runs in the seventh and eighth inning to secure the victory.

UW-Whitewater continues play Sunday against UW-La Crosse in a doubleheader to close out the regular season at 12 p.m. in La Crosse, Wis.