The No. 15 ranked. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team crossed over the .500 mark Monday with a pair of victories at the RussMatt Invitational at Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Fla.
The Warhawks (5-4 overall) topped Middlebury (Vt.) by a 4-3 score in their final at-bat, and defeated Franklin (Ind.) by a 6-3 score to close the day.
In the game against Franklin (9-5), a fellow 2018 NCAA Central Regional qualifier, senior pitcher Michael Kaska tossed eight shutout innings, allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out a career-high 12 batters. He improved to 1-2 on the season with the win.
The Grizzlies threatened with three runs in the ninth, but freshman Hayden Fox posted a strikeout with the tying run at the plate to end the contest.
Ten different Warhawks recorded one hit. Junior Noah Jensen scored two runs and knocked in one run.
Junior centerfielder Alex Doud knocked a two-out, run-scoring single to left in the top of the first to give UW-Whitewater the early advantage.
The Warhawks struck twice in the seventh to increase their lead to three on pinch-hit, RBI singles by sophomore Connor Moroder and junior Lucas Price.
UW-Whitewater added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a bunt single by Jensen, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Nick Schrader.
Against Middlebury (6-4), Schrader hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to plate the winning run in the bottom of the ninth and give UW-Whitewater a walk-off victory.
Schrader tallied a team-high three hits and scored one run to go along with his game-winning RBI. Senior third baseman Cal Aldridge collected two hits, one run scored and one RBI, and senior catcher Mike Aiello and Doud each plated a run.
Sophomore pitcher Matt O'Sullivan allowed only two earned runs and scattered eight hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings. Sophomore Connor Spear didn't allow a run in the final two innings and earned the win to improve to 1-0 on the year.
The Warhawks opened scoring in the bottom of the third inning on a run-scoring single by Doud and a sacrifice fly by Aiello. The Panthers took a one-run lead with one in the fourth and two in the fifth, but UW-Whitewater quickly tied the game at 3-3 thanks to an RBI single by Aldridge in the fifth.
O'Sullivan ran into trouble in the top of the sixth, but escaped a two-on, no-out jam with a strikeout and two popups to end the frame.
Neither team was able to mount a serious rally until the bottom of the ninth, when UW-Whitewater loaded the bases with nobody out to set up Schrader's game-winner.
The Warhawks close their spring break trip Tuesday with a game against Elmhurst (Ill.). First pitch is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Central Time in Auburndale.