Concordia University Wisconsin scored a pair of runs in the first inning and held on for a 3-2 victory over the UW-Oshkosh baseball team on Thursday (April 6) in Mequon.
Matt Luft went 3-for-5 and Dan Ranieri added two hits and scored twice as Concordia University Wisconsin won for the first time in their four meetings with UW-Oshkosh.
The Falcons' Niko Kutsulis (2-0) picked up the pitching win after allowing one hit and one walk in 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Scott Plachinski notched his fourth save of the year while holding the Titans hitless over the final 1.2 innings.
Concordia University Wisconsin (9-7) outhit UW-Oshkosh, 9-5, as the teams combined to use 10 pitchers. The Titans entered the game with a WIAC-leading .313 batting average.
The Falcons scored two runs on two hits and one UW-Oshkosh error in the bottom of the first inning against Jack Tierney, who was making his first career pitching start for the Titans.
Ranieri singled to lead off the home half of the first inning, went to second base on a groundout and scored on a UW-Oshkosh infield error. After a single and a wild pitch advanced Falcons runners to second and third bases with one out, a groundout off the bat of Kyle Hilliard gave Concordia University Wisconsin a 2-0 lead.
UW-Oshkosh (8-8) responded with a run in the second inning as Nate Given walked with two out and the bases loaded against Concordia University Wisconsin starting pitcher Matthew Olig. The Titans loaded the bases on singles by Brahier and Dylan, and a walk by Zack Radde.
UW-Oshkosh relief pitcher Jon Maday worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning before being relieved by Scott Gorsuch, who walked Ranieri with one out in the fourth. Ranieri stole second base and scored following back-to-back hits by Luft and Matt Schubert.
The Titans trimmed their deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning as Given tripled with one out and Jack Paulson followed with a single. Paulson stole second base ahead of a walk by Tyler Kozlowski, but Paulson was caught stealing at third base for the second out, and Kutsulis entered from the Falcons' bullpen to record the final out on a groundout.
UW-Oshkosh stranded a runner at second base in both the sixth and eighth innings.
Brahier hit a leadoff single in the sixth inning and advanced to second base with one out, but Kutsulis escaped the jam with a flyout and a groundout. In the eighth inning, UW-Oshkosh pinch-hitter Sam Schwenn drew a one-out walk, and Brahier was hit by a pitch from Kutsulis. However, Plachinski got the first batter he faced to fly out to Concordia University Wisconsin left fielder Nathan Thyssen, who easily completed a double play at second base as Schwenn was attempting to steal third base on the play.
Plachinski walked Radde to open the UW-Oshkosh ninth inning, but Concordia University Wisconsin catcher Bryan Thomas was credited with throwing out Radde attempting to steal second base. Plachinski then secured the Falcons' victory by inducing a pair of flyouts to conclude the game.
Tierney (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Titans after yielding two runs (one earned) in the first inning.
After UW-Oshkosh's Lucas Gregory pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of Gorsuch and Matt Wiechmann tossed a perfect sixth frame, Noah Polcyn recorded three strikeouts and allowed just one hit across two scoreless innings in his collegiate pitching debut.
Concordia University Wisconsin left 12 runners on base while UW-Oshkosh stranded seven.
UW-Oshkosh begins WIAC play with a doubleheader at UW-Stevens Point on Saturday (April 8).
Photo by Jennifer Zuberbier