The No. 2/3 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team used a potent offensive start and strong pitching Thursday afternoon to defeat St. Norbert 4-2 in the team's first game of the NCAA Division III Championship Midwest Regional at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium in Whitewater.
The Warhawks (36-7 overall), the regional's top seed, remains in the winner's bracket and will face fifth-seeded UW-La Crosse, an 11-2 winner over St. Scholastica (Minn.).
UW-Whitewater plated three in the bottom of the first on run-scoring doubles by junior first baseman Blake Fleischman and senior second baseman Steve Chamberlain and a sacrifice fly by sophomore left fielder Matt Wary.
After the Green Knights (30-12) responded with runs in the third and fourth innings to draw within one, sophomore third baseman Cal Aldridge doubled the Warhawks' lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out, RBI single.
Junior pitcher Heath Renz allowed one earned run and struck out five in four innings of work to tally his ninth win of the season against no losses. Senior Westin Wuethrich bridged the gap with four shutout innings to get to senior closer Mike Nompleggi, who registered his seventh save of the year by pitching around a one-out walk in the top of the ninth.
Senior shortstop Jordan Kuczynski collected three hits and scored one run, while Chamberlain tallied two hits. Sophomore centerfielder Kevin White added one hit and one run scored.
UW-Whitewater out-hit St. Norbert 10-5 but left 10 runners on base. The Green Knights stranded seven runners, including two in the top of the first.
Friday's game against UW-La Crosse is the Warhawks' seventh of the season against the Eagles.