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Titans Settle For Split With Blue Devils

Jesse Sustachek shut out the Blue Devils through six innings en route to his first complete-game win of the year.
Jesse Sustachek shut out the Blue Devils through six innings en route to his first complete-game win of the year.

Jesse Sustachek earned a complete-game win in the opener, Andy Brahier homered among his five hits on the day and the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh baseball team split a doubleheader with UW-Stout on Saturday (April 28) in La Crosse.

UW-Oshkosh (21-6, 8-4 WIAC), ranked 11th in the NCAA Division III by D3baseball.com, never trailed on the way to a 7-2 win in the first game. The Blue Devils held on for a 6-5 victory during the nightcap. The Titans have won 10 of their last 12 meetings with UW-Stout.

The Titans, who are tied for third in the league standings with UW-La Crosse (18-9, 8-4 WIAC), added three doubles on the day to increase their conference-leading total to 66 for the season.

Brahier went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and one run batted in during the first contest before going 2-for-5 with one RBI in the second game. Brahier, who leads the Titans with a .426 batting average, has recorded at least two hits in 11 of his 17 games played this season.

Sustachek scattered 14 hits and notched six strikeouts en route to his first complete game of the year and the fifth of his career. He improved his season record to 3-1 by stranding 11 baserunners.

The Titans staked Sustachek to a 5-0 lead with two runs in both the first and fourth innings and a single run in the sixth.

Zack Radde and Brahier hit solo home runs in the first inning. The home runs were second of the season for both Radde and Brahier.

UW-Stout (8-17, 5-9 WIAC) threatened in the top of the fourth inning as Jon Krueger doubled and Ben Vanhove singled to open the frame, but Sustachek struck out the next three Blue Devils to preserve the Titans' 2-0 advantage.

Jensen Hinton plated the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly ahead of Sam Schwenn's two-out, run-scoring infield single in the home half of the fourth inning. UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 5-0 when Alex Koch scored on a passed ball with two outs in the sixth inning.

The Blue Devils broke up Sustachek's shutout bid on a two-out single in the seventh inning by Jordan Wilson that scored Reid Akerman, but Alex Koch scored on a passed ball during the sixth frame.

UW-Oshkosh tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth frame with a two-out, two-run single from Schwenn. The Titans scored five of their seven runs after two outs.

UW-Stout, which stranded a pair of runners in each of the last three innings, capped the scoring on Wilson's RBI double in the ninth.

Wilson collected three hits for the Blue Devils while Schwenn had three hits and a career-best three RBIs for the Titans.

UW-Stout starting pitcher Zach Carlson (1-4) suffered the complete-game loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in eight innings. He walked one and struck out three.

In the nightcap, UW-Oshkosh had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with two outs in the ninth inning, but Blue Devils relief pitcher Jack Donahue secured the win and notched his first save of the year by inducing a grounder to the mound to end the game.

UW-Stout reclaimed a 3-2 lead with a two-run fifth inning and extended its advantage to 6-2 with three runs in the seventh. UW-Oshkosh pulled within 6-5 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh frame and one run in the eighth.

Wilson opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first inning, but the Titans answered with two runs in the home half of the first on consecutive RBI singles by Brahier and Dylan Ott.

The Blue Devils took the lead for good at 3-2 on Jack Hemsath's two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Wilson and Hemsath upped the UW-Stout lead to 5-2 in the top of the seventh inning, and Vanhove plated Hemsath with a single that gave the Blue Devils a four-run cushion.

UW-Oshkosh had two runners in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the seventh frame for Ott, who drove home Radde with a single. Taylor Grimm then scored on a wild pitch to trim the Titan deficit to 6-4, but a groundout and a lineout concluded the inning.

The Titans once again had a pair of runners in scoring position, this time with no outs in the eighth inning. Jack Paulson lifted a sacrifice fly to pull UW-Oshkosh within 6-5, but Noah Polcyn was doubled off at second base on Paulson's fly ball before a groundout ending the inning.

Grimm led off the Titan ninth with a single and advanced to third base on Koch's two-out double. However, Donahue preserved the win by getting Schwenn out on a comebacker to the mound.

UW-Oshkosh outhit UW-Stout, 13-8, but stranded 11 baserunners. Brahier, Grimm, Hinton and Ott each had three hits for the Titans. Wilson went 3-for-5 with his first homer of the year for the Blue Devils.

UW-Stout starting pitcher Max Sires (1-3) picked up his first win of the season after yielding four runs on eight hits and four walks in six innings.

Titans starting pitcher Jon Maday (2-1) was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings. He walked three and registered a career-high five strikeouts.

UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stout complete their season series with a doubleheader Sunday (April 29) in La Crosse. The series is in La Crosse due to stadium conditions at UW-Oshkosh's Tiedemann Field. The Titans will play each of their remaining scheduled home games at a neutral site since a safety net broke during a recent winter storm.