After opening conference play on Friday, April 5, the Yellowjacket baseball team returned to action looking to capture its first conference win of the season against the UW-Whitewater Warhawks in Whitewater, Wis. Their hopes were dashed early on Saturday, as the Warhawk offense powered the team to a 17-7 win in seven innings, hitting four home runs in the process.
For the second game in a row, the Warhawks jumped out to an early five-run lead in the first inning. The Warhawks loaded the bases off of Yellowjacket starter Dan Genrich (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West) and drew back-to-back walks to score their first two runs. The two walks would end Genrich's day, but not stop the Warhawk offense. After a sacrifice fly off reliever Jake Lewis (Proctor, Minn./Proctor) scored another run, David Cladis would hit a single up the middle, plating two more runs. The Yellowjackets would escape the inning on a close play when center fielder Wyatt Soderquist (Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) threw out speedy JT Schneider trying to advance to third. Warhawk head coach John Vodenlich was ejected from the game after arguing the call.
Tom Fairbanks (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) helped get the Yellowjackets on the board in the third inning hitting a bases clearing triple to deep center field. Fairbanks' three RBI would shave the Warhawks lead to 5-3.
The Yellowjackets saw their first lead of the series come in the fourth inning starting with a Tyler Duex (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls) triple. Rob Veith (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) would bring in Duex after Casey Dittel (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) drew a walk off Warhawk starting pitcher Justin Mortensen. Soderquist would immediately follow with a single up the middle that would skip under the glove of centerfielder Dylan Friend, allowing Soderquist to race around the bases and give the Yellowjackets a 7-5 lead.
The lead, however, would only last an inning.
In the bottom of the fifth the Warhawks flexed their power to take a 9-7 lead when Mike Mierow hit a three-run home run to left field.
The Warhawks power continued in the sixth inning as Friend opened the inning hitting a line drive home run over the center field fence. Schneider would smash a two-run double down the left field line and Friend would make his way back to the batter's box to deliver a two-run single, extending the Warhawks lead to 15-7.
Fon and Herum helped finish the game in the seventh inning hitting back-to-back home runs off of Yellowjacket reliever Christian Hall (Siren, Wis./Siren). The two runs would sink the Yellowjackets, ending the game due to the 10-run rule, which is enforced after a team secures a 10 run lead after the seventh inning.
The Yellowjackets collected 10 hits in the game lead by Soderquist who went 3-for-4. Soderquist scored two runs and collected an RBI as well. Lewis received the loss after working five innings in relief.
Curtis Morgan was credited the win for the Warhawks throwing three-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. Friend and Jared Fon led the Warhawks offense, each collecting three hits.
With the loss, the Yellowjackets fall to 7-10 on the season and 0-2 in conference play. The Warhawks improve to 13-3 and 4-0 in conference.
The teams will complete the season series with a doubleheader on Sunday, April 7, scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m. on the campus of UW-Whitewater. Alex Beers (Robbinsdale, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) and Kyle Gauger (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) are tentatively scheduled to start for the Yellowjackets.