La Crosse, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse baseball team earned a 14-4 victory in seven innings over UW-Oshkosh Friday night in the opening game of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship (presented by Culver's) at Copeland Park. The Eagles, ranked fourth on this week's D3baseball.com Top-25 Pol, improve to 32-8 overall while the Titans drop to 18-20-1.
UWL earned the championship's top-seed after winning its 14th regular-season title in school history this year. The Eagles will host second-seeded UW-Whitewater (28-12) Saturday, May 14 at 4 p.m. The Warhawks earned a 5-4 win in 10 innings over third-seeded UW-Stevens Point (21-20) Friday night.
UW-Oshkosh will play UW-Stevens Point Saturday, May 14 at 1 p.m. in an elimination game.
The winner of the championship receives the WIAC's automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Championship.
UWL improved to 5-0 on the season versus UW-Oshkosh after sweeping the team's four-game regular-season series April 16-17 at Copeland Park.
UWL struck first with a run on three hits in the bottom of the first. A one-out double from Alex Cordova followed by a Taylor Kohlwey single put runners on the corners. Justin Anderson's fielder's choice grounder to shortstop drove in Cordova to make it 1-0. Kohlwey extended his hitting streak to 43 games with the single, tied for the third-longest hitting streak in NCAA Division III history.
The Eagles increased the lead in the bottom of the third. Anderson doubled to right with two outs followed by back-to-back home runs from Carter Hoffman and Alex Brown to give UWL a 4-0 advantage after three innings.
In the fourth inning, Nate Heili singled with one out, and stole second. Joel Zyhowski followed with a single, advancing Heili to third. Cordova singled to right, driving in Heili to make it 5-0 and moving Zyhowski to third. A UW-Oshkosh fielding error by the shortstop off the bat of Kohlwey scored Zyhowski for a 6-0 lead.
UW-Oshkosh got back into the game, scoring runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings. A Trent Whitcomb solo home run to right in the fifth put the Titans on the board at 6-1, and a two-run home run in the sixth by Jack Paulson cut the lead to 6-3.
UWL sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, scoring eight runs on seven hits to take a 14-3 lead. The first six batters reached base to start the inning. Cordova had four RBI in the inning, highlighted by a three-run home run. Five different players had an RBI for the Eagles.
Andy Brahier's solo home run in the top of the seventh for UW-Oshkosh cut the final margin to 14-4.
Caleb Boushley (8-0) earned the complete-game win for UWL, pitching 7.0 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs and one walk while finishing with four strikeouts. It was Boushley's fourth complete-game of the season.
The Eagles recorded 17 hits, including eight for extra-base. Eight of nine starters had a hit for UWL with all nine scoring a run. Cordova finished 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs while Hoffman went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs. Zyhowski, Kohlwey, Anderson and Heili each had two hits while five different players scored twice. Four players had at least two RBI. Heili had two stolen bases. Anderson's two RBI extended his single-season school record to 68.
Ben Messenger (3-4) suffered the loss for UW-Oshkosh, going 5.0 innings, allowing 13 hits and nine runs with three strikeouts. The Titans totaled seven hits with Dylan Ott going 2-for-3.
UWL returns to action Saturday, May 14 at 4 p.m. versus UW-Whitewater.