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Titans Sweep Blue Devils

Abby Menting hit her 16th career home run during the Titans' doubleheader against the Blue Devils.
Abby Menting hit her 16th career home run during the Titans' doubleheader against the Blue Devils.

Abby Menting had five runs batted in and Acacia Tupa four as the UW-Oshkosh softball team knocked UW-Stout from atop of the WIAC standings with a doubleheader sweep Saturday (April 13) in Whitewater.

UW-Oshkosh (15-9, 4-2 WIAC) won by scores of 5-3 in the opener and 10-3 during the second contest. Saturday's games were moved to Whitewater due to unplayable conditions at UW-Stout's home facility.

The Titans, who produced a season-high 17 hits in Saturday's second contest, have won six straight games over UW-Stout and 12 of the last 13 in the series.

UW-Stout (13-10, 2-2 WIAC) fell from first to fifth in the league standings while the Titans rose one spot to fourth.

UW-Oshkosh, which received hits from 10 different players in the two games, produced a .391 batting average, a .431 on-base percentage and a .578 slugging percentage Saturday. The Titans went into Saturday with a conference-leading .388 on-base percentage.

Menting hit what proved to be the game-winning two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning during the first game before driving in a season-high three runs in the second game. Menting's second home run of the season moved her into a tie for seventh in school history with 16 during her career.

Tupa went a combined 5-for-9 on the day and drove in a pair of runs in both games.

UW-Oshkosh's Amanda McIlhany and Natalie Dudek both reached 100 career hits during Saturday's second contest. McIlhany, who had the program's fourth-longest hitting streak end at 13 games in the opener, rebounded for three hits in the second contest to increase her career total to 101. Dudek collected a pair of hits in both games to give her 100 during her career.

Bailey Smaney and Claire Petrus earned complete-game wins in the pitcher's circle for the Titans. Smaney, who improved her season record to 10-3, remains the WIAC leader in victories. Petrus also went 3-for-4 with a home run in the second game to up her team-leading totals to three homers and 21 RBIs on the year.

In Saturday's first game, UW-Oshkosh overcame a 2-0 deficit after one inning with a run in the third inning and a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth frames.

UW-Stout scored twice on three hits in the bottom of the first inning as Jessica Daley had a run-scoring single with one out and Alicia Meyer added a two-out RBI double.

After both teams stranded a runner in scoring position in the second inning, the first three Titans reached base in the top of the third frame. Grace Stevens led off with a double, Jordan Manthei reached via an error on a sacrifice bunt and Tupa scored Stevens with a single to center field. However, UW-Stout escaped further damage by getting three straight outs on a groundout, a tag at the plate following a failed squeeze attempt and a strikeout.

Dudek hit a leadoff double for the Titans in the fourth inning. Menting reached first base on an error, and Chloe Lambie was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. After a fielder's choice preserved the Blue Devils' lead, Manthei tied the score at 2 with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Emma Fionda. Tupa then gave UW-Oshkosh the lead for good on a two-out single that scored Lambie.

UW-Oshkosh's Gabby Buikema laced a single up the middle with one out in the top of the fifth inning. A groundout brought up Menting, who smacked a line-drive home run over the left field wall for a 5-1 UW-Oshkosh advantage.

Smaney retired eight consecutive batters until allowing a one-out single in the home half of the fifth inning. Following a stolen base and another single that put runners at the corners, a wild pitch with two outs allowed the Blue Devils to pull within 5-3. The stolen base was UW-Stout's only one of the day after going into Saturday with a WIAC-best 50 this season.

The Blue Devils brought the tying run to the pate with one out in the sixth inning, but Smaney recorded a pair of strikeouts looking to retire the side. UW-Stout once again had a chance to tie in the seventh inning as a single with two outs prolonged the frame. However, Smaney induced a routine flyball to Tupa in center field to end the game.

Smaney, who has won her last seven decisions, scattered seven hits and a pair of walks while recording two strikeouts.

The top two hitters in the Blue Devils lineup – Mary Iliopoulos and Kyncaide Diedrich – went 5-for-8 at the plate, but Smaney held the rest of the UW-Stout batters to a combined 2-for-20 on the way to pitching her 10th complete game of the year. Iliopoulos, who entered the day with a WIAC-leading .471 batting average, was 2-for-4 while Diedrich went 3-for-4.

UW-Stout starting pitcher Malea Bruns (4-3) suffered the loss, yielding five runs (three earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts across six innings.

During the second contest, UW-Oshkosh scored three runs in the top of the first inning and held an 8-1 lead after five frames.

The first five UW-Oshkosh batters combined to go 13-for-21 at the plate with nine RBIs as Tupa, Petrus and McIlhany each collected three hits; and Dudek and Menting provided two hits apiece.

The Titans' three-run first inning featured four consecutive one-out hits, including a solo home run by Petrus and a two-run double from Menting. UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 4-0 in the second frame on McIlhany's two-out single that scored Manthei, who sparked the rally by drawing a walk with one out.

After back-to-back singles by Manthei and Tupa put runners at the corners to start the top of the fourth inning, Tupa lifted a sacrifice fly to up the UW-Oshkosh lead to 5-0.

Petrus pitched around a pair of hits in the second inning and set down the Blue Devils in order during both the first and third frames until losing her bid for a shutout on a leadoff home run by Jessica Daley in the fourth.

UW-Oshkosh got the run back quickly as Kailee Garstecki ripped a double down the left field line to score pinch-runner Katie Fontanetta from first base in the fifth inning. Garstecki and Fionda both came around to score later in the inning on Tupa's one-out single that upped the Titans' advantage to 8-1.

The Titans added two insurance runs in the seventh inning as five straight batters reached. Tupa tripled and scored on Petrus' subsequent single. McIlhany and Dudek then singled ahead of Menting, who drew a walk with the bases loaded.

The Blue Devils answered with a pair of runs on consecutive two-out RBI singles from Diedrich and Daley in their half of the seventh frame, but Petrus got the final out of the game on a grounder to McIlhany at second base.

Petrus (5-6) pitched her sixth complete game of the season, allowing nine hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

Daley, Meyer and Renee Murphy each accounted for two of the Blue Devils' nine hits.

Starting pitcher Sommer Kuntsmann was charged with the loss for UW-Stout after surrendering eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.

The Titans return home to host Ripon College for a doubleheader Tuesday (April 16) at the UW-Oshkosh Softball Park.