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Eagles Begin Four-Game Series With Sweep Of Titans

Matt McNabb had a career-high three hits during UW-Oshkosh's second game against UW-L:a Crosse.
Matt McNabb had a career-high three hits during UW-Oshkosh's second game against UW-L:a Crosse.

UW-Oshkosh's 12 hits during the second game were not enough as UW-La Crosse swept a WIAC baseball doubleheader over the Titans on Sunday (April 14) in La Crosse.

UW-La Crosse (12-8, 8-2 WIAC) won by scores of 5-1 in the opener and 12-6 during the nightcap. The Eagles, who have won their last five home contests, are now one game behind league-leading UW-Whitewater (14-6, 7-1 WIAC).

UW-Oshkosh (13-12, 6-6 WIAC) fell into a tie for third in the conference standings with 12 games remaining.

The Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak to the Titans by outhitting UW-Oshkosh, 24-15, on the day, including 9-3 in the opener.

UW-Oshkosh, which entered Sunday ranked third in the WIAC with a .962 fielding percentage, committed nine total errors that led to six unearned runs. UW-La Crosse, the top fielding team in the conference, had just one error while four Eagles pitchers combined to record 23 strikeouts.

In the first game, Eagles starting pitcher Mason McMahon took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a two-out single to Alex Koch. McMahon then lost his bid for a shutout after Koch, who accounted for two of the team's three hits, stole second base and scored on a double by Hunter Staniske that pulled the Titans within 3-1.

UW-Oshkosh had the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the sixth inning, but McMahon got a strikeout to end the threat.

UW-La Crosse staked McMahon to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs and the bases empty, five consecutive Eagles reached base, including Shane Coker on a two-run single and Jake McClellan via an RBI single.

The Eagles tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

McMahon (3-1) earned the win, limiting the Titans to one run on two hits across the first seven innings. He walked six and struck out nine.

McClellan and Mitch Sutton both had two of UW-La Crosse's nine hits.

Ryan Wilkening (3-3) suffered the complete-game loss for the Titans after yielding five runs (four earned) on nine hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

During the nightcap UW-Oshkosh took its lone lead of the day with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but UW-La Crosse answered with five runs of its own in the home half of the opening frame and three more during the second.

UW-Oshkosh opened the game with three consecutive hits, including a run-scoring double from Koch. Jensen Hinton later plated the Titans' second run with a sacrifice fly.

UW-La Crosse's five-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning began with seven straight baserunners on four singles, a pair of walks and one Titan error. The Eagles then extended their lead to 8-0 after RBIs in the second frame by McClellan, Carson Youngquist and Shane Coker.

Staniske's run-scoring groundout cut the UW-Oshkosh deficit to 8-3 in the top of the fifth inning. The Titans later scored a pair of unearned runs to pull within 9-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth frame. However, UW-La Crosse put the game out of reach with three runs on four hits during the home half eight inning.

The Titans scratched across a run in the top of the ninth inning on a Staniske sacrifice fly, but a strikeout of the following batter secured the doubleheader sweep for the Eagles.

Coker and Youngquist had three hits apiece for UW-La Crosse while Zack Radde went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs to pace the Titans. Radde, who recorded his second four-hit effort of the season, has nine multiple-hit games this season.

Matt McNabb added a career-high three hits for the Titans, who also received two hits apiece from Koch and Staniske. Koch increased his team-leading batting average to .388 on the year.

UW-La Crosse starting pitcher Connor Cook (3-1) picked up the win, allowing three runs and scattering nine hits across the first seven innings. He recorded nine strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Will Michalski (1-1) took the loss for the Titans after surrendering eight runs (five earned) in one-plus inning of work to open the game.

UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader Monday (April 15) in La Crosse.

Photo by Jim Lund