UW-Oshkosh's Jesse Sustachek allowed just three hits in Friday's (April 14) first contest as the Titans and UW-La Crosse exchanged baseball shutouts for the second straight day at Tiedemann Field.
UW-Oshkosh (13-12, 4-4 WIAC) blanked the Eagles, 6-0, in Friday's opener, but UW-La Crosse claimed the nightcap by a 3-0 result. On Thursday (April 13), UW-La Crosse won the first game, 5-0, and the Titans the second, 7-0.
Defending league champion UW-La Crosse (12-11, 2-6 WIAC), which reached the NCAA Division III World Series the past two seasons, suffered consecutive shutouts for the first time in 495 games, while the Titans blanked back-to-back opponents for the first time in 393 contests.
In Friday's first game, Sustachek held UW-La Crosse to just three singles en route to his first career shutout. The Eagles advanced only two baserunners past first base, both with two outs over the first three innings.
Sustachek (4-2) limited the Eagles to a pair of hits in the third inning and a one-out single in the ninth. He concluded his stellar outing with two strikeouts and five walks as UW-La Crosse stranded eight baserunners.
The Titans backed Sustachek with three runs in both the first and third innings.
Jack Paulson went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in to pace UW-Oshkosh while Johnny Eagan had a pair of hits and scored twice, and Taylor Grimm drove in two runs. Eagan added a hit in Friday's second contest to extend his reached-base streak to 25 games.
After Sustachek retired the Eagles in order in the top of the first inning, Tyler Kozlowski and Eagan connected for consecutive one-out singles in the home half of the frame against UW-La Crosse starting pitcher Mason McMahon. Andy Brahier followed with a walk to load the bases ahead of Grimm, who delivered a single that scored Kozlowski with the game's first run.
Zack Radde then reached on an infield error to extend the Titans' lead to 2-0 before Paulson's squeeze bunt scored Brahier.
The Titans loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning as Kozlowski walked, and Eagan and Brahier hit back-to-back singles. Grimm lifted a sacrifice fly, and Eagan came in to score on the play when the Eagles' outfield throw got past the UW-La Crosse third baseman. Paulson later capped the scoring with a two-out single that scored Brahier from third base.
UW-La Crosse had a pair of baserunners in the second inning due to an infield error and a walk with two outs. However, Sustacheck escaped the early jam by getting a lineout to left field.
Sustachek then yielded a leadoff, infield hit to Alex Brown in the third inning. Following two quick outs, Brady Stolzman laced a single to center field, but Sustachek struck out Alex Robson to preserve the Titans' 3-0 lead.
After the third inning, Sustachek pitched around one-out walks in the fourth and sixth innings, and two-out walks in the seventh and eighth frames.
Sustachek faced 21 consecutive batters without allowing a hit until Brennan Schmitt singled through the left side with one out in the ninth inning. Sustachek then completed the shutout by getting a groundout and a popup as he recorded each of his final six outs on the infield.
McMahon (1-1) suffered the loss for the Eagles, yielding six runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks in three innings pitched.
UW-La Crosse relief pitchers Brock Rude and Justin Scoville combined to hold UW-Oshkosh scoreless on two hits across the last five innings. Rude ceded two hits in 4.2 innings pitched, while Scoville recorded the final out during the eighth frame.
In Friday's second contest, UW-La Crosse pitchers Travis Stahulak and Caleb Willems limited UW-Oshkosh to four hits.
Stahulak (2-1) gave up just two hits in the first seven innings to pick up the win. He struck out five and walked four.
Willems notched his fourth save of the year after yielding two hits over the final two innings.
The Eagles supported Stahulak and Willems with two runs in the third inning and an insurance run in the eighth.
UW-La Crosse's Joel Zyhowski and Nate Heili both had run-scoring hits during the second inning before Schmitt scored the final run on a passed ball during the eighth.
The Titans had runners in scoring position during the first two innings, but Stahulak and Willems combined to allow just one baserunner past first base over the final seven frames. UW-Oshkosh's Jensen Hinton hit a double with two outs in the final inning for the Titans' lone extra-base hit of the day.
Paulson drew a leadoff walk against Stahulak in the bottom of the first inning. Paulson advanced to second base on a failed pickoff attempt and reached third base with no outs following a single by Kozlowski. However, Stahulak struck out two Titans and induced a one-out popup to thwart the threat.
Stahulak walked Hinton and Dylan Ott in the second inning, but a flyout ended the Titans' scoring opportunity.
Each of UW-Oshkosh's last five baserunners came with two outs over the final eight innings.
UW-La Crosse's Heili and Sam Prissel had two hits and one stolen base apiece.
Hinton had a pair of hits to lead UW-Oshkosh.
UW-Oshksh starting pitcher Jacob Pohlman (1-2) was charged with the loss after surrendering two runs on four hits and two walks in 2.2 innings.
UW-Oshkosh relief pitchers Jon Maday, Lucas Gregory and Alex Larson combined to allow just one run on five hits the rest of the way. Maday yielded an unearned run on four hits in 4.1 innings of work, while Gregory worked a scoreless eighth frame and Larson a perfect ninth.
Both teams left eight runners on base during the nightcap.
UW-La Crosse last suffered two straight shutouts on April 24, 2005, against UW-Whitewater. UW-Oshkosh last tossed two consecutive shutouts on April 22, 2007, against UW-Superior.
UW-Oshkosh plays at Benedictine University on Wednesday (April 19) in Lisle, Ill.