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Titans Win Pitching Duel With Pointers

Nick McLees allowed six hits during his second complete-game performance of the season.
Nick McLees allowed six hits during his second complete-game performance of the season.

Nick McLees earned his second complete-game win of the season to lead UW-Oshkosh to a 3-2 victory over UW-Stevens Point in a matchup of nationally ranked WIAC baseball teams Thursday (April 26) in Mauston.

UW-Oshkosh (20-5, 7-3 WIAC), ranked 11th in the NCAA Division III by D3baseball.com, took a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish on a squeeze bunt by Jonathan Selchow in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Twenty-fifth-ranked UW-Stevens Point (18-8, 10-4 WIAC) remains second in the league standings, percentage points ahead of third-place UW-Oshkosh.

McLees held the Pointers scoreless and allowed just two baserunners past first base over the final six innings on the way to improving his season record to 6-1. He gave up six hits and one walk while recording three strikeouts.

McLees outdueled UW-Stevens Point starting pitcher Drew Spaeth, who also went the distance, scattering 10 hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings. Spaeth (3-2) took the loss despite holding the Titans six runs below their WIAC-leading scoring average.

Jack Paulson led the Titans with three hits while Alex Koch and Logan Reckert added two apiece. Kyle Mrozinski and Payton Nelson both had two hits for the Pointers.

Mrozinski drove in the game's first run with a single in the opening inning, but UW-Oshkosh answered with two runs in the second frame as Andy Brahier and Koch began the inning with doubles, Reckert singled and Sam Schwenn lifted a sacrifice fly to score Koch with the go-ahead run.

Nelson tied the score at 2 on a two-out, run-scoring single in the top of the third inning.

UW-Oshkosh capped the scoring in the fourth inning, when Koch hit a leadoff single, Reckert followed with a walk and Schwenn advanced Koch to third base with a groundout. Selchow then executed his bunt to the right side of the pitcher, allowing Koch to score the eventual game-winning run.

UW-Stevens Point had the tying run on base in each of the next four innings, but UW-Oshkosh catcher Taylor Grimm caught Ryan Stanicek attempting to steal second base in the fifth inning, and McLees stranded Pointer runners at first base in both the sixth and seventh frames before inducing an inning-ending double play during the eighth. McLees retired UW-Stevens Point in order in the ninth on three consecutive groundouts.

McLees recorded 23 of his 27 outs on the infield, including each of the last 10.

UW-Stevens Point defeated the Titans, 5-3, in their first meeting this season on April 12 in Oshkosh. The teams will play a doubleheader at UW-Stevens Point on May 7.

Thursday's game was played in Mauston due to stadium conditions at UW-Oshkosh's Tiedemann Field. The Titans will play each of their remaining scheduled home games on the road or at a neutral site since a safety net broke during a recent winter storm.

UW-Oshkosh begins its four-game series against UW-Stout with a doubleheader Saturday (April 28) in La Crosse.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Zuberbier