UW-Oshkosh's Kaitlyn Krol and Claire Petrus both homered in the opener, Amanda McIlhany and Abby Menting drove in two runs apiece during the nightcap, and the nationally ranked Titans swept a softball doubleheader over Carthage College on Thursday (April 20) at the UW-Oshkosh Softball Park.
UW-Oshkosh (22-6), ranked 17th in the NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, won the first game, 6-2, and the second contest, 5-1, as head coach Scott Beyer eclipsed 100 career victories.
Beyer, who owns a 101-42 record in four seasons at the helm of the Titans, becomes the third UW-Oshkosh coach to reach 100 victories, while his .706 winning percentage is the best in program history.
Carthage College (22-10), which entered the day on a 13-game winning streak, suffered a loss for the first time since April 1.
Petrus went a combined 4-for-6 at the plate for the Titans with a pair of doubles and her second homer of the season. McIlhany concluded the day 4-for-5 while Krol drove in four runs.
The UW-Oshkosh defense, which entered the day ranked fourth nationally with a .976 fielding percentage, did not commit an error while turning a pair of double plays in both contests as the Titans improved their home record to 8-0 on the year.
In Thursday's first game, a single by Krol gave UW-Oshkosh the lead for good at 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning.
Petrus then homered to lead off the fourth frame for a 3-1 Titan advantage, and Krol's three-run shot in the fifth inning extended their lead to 6-1. The homer was Krol's second of the year.
UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Sara Brunlieb improved her record to 8-3 on the year after allowing two runs on six hits in six innings pitched. She struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Carthage College claimed a 1-0 lead as Darian Pelsor launched her team-leading seventh homer of the season to lead off the top of the second inning.
The Titans knotted the score at 1 in the home half of the second inning as Natalie Dudek was hit by a pitch, advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Lauren Torborg, and scored on a double to center field by Petrus.
UW-Oshkosh's Erika Berry reached on an error to begin the third inning and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Lady Reds starter Katie Herron. Krol then plated Berry with the go-ahead run on a one-out single up the middle.
Petrus hit her home run over the center-field wall before Krol launched her three-run shot off Herron to right field an inning later.
Brunlieb surrendered a leadoff single in the third frame and a one-out hit in the fifth, but the Titans thwarted both threats by recording inning-ending double plays.
A two-out, run-scoring single by Pelsor cut the Lady Reds' deficit to 6-2 in the sixth inning, but UW-Oshkosh relief pitcher Clare Robbe tossed a scoreless seventh frame to secure the victory.
Pelsor went 3-for-3 in the opener to pace Carthage College, which also received two hits from Ellie Bernero.
Herron (9-3) was charged with the loss in the pitcher's circle for the Lady Reds after yielding six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in five innings of work.
In Thursday's nightcap, Carthage College once again took an early lead before the Titans answered with two runs in the second frame and three runs during the sixth inning.
UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney and reliever Robbe combined to set down the final 13 Lady Reds batters of the game.
Smaney walked Kay Uhwat-Vicicondi to open the contest. A sacrifice bunt advanced Uhwat-Vicicondi to second base, and Kristine Herdegen and Pelsor followed to consecutive singles that provided Carthage College a 1-0 lead.
With two Lady Reds aboard and one out in the first inning, Smaney escaped further damage by snagging a line drive and firing to Krol at first base in time for the Titans' third inning-ending double play of the day.
Dudek ignited the Titan comeback by getting hit with a pitch with one out in the second inning. Petrus, Natalie Dillon and McIlhany then hit consecutive singles against Carthage College starting pitcher Amy Goldsmith for a 2-1 advantage.
Petrus laced her hit to center field before Dillon guided her bunt to a vacated area between the third baseman and shortstop, allowing Dudek to score from second base with the tying run. McIlhany delivered the eventual game-winning hit with her single up the middle that plated Petrus.
Carthage College had a pair of baserunners in the top of the third inning as Smaney allowed a one-out single and hit the subsequent batter with a pitch ahead of Pelsor, who recorded hits in her first four at-bats of the doubleheader.
However, for the fourth time of the day, the Titans thwarted a scoring opportunity with an inning-ending double play as Dudek, the Titans shortstop, fielded a ground ball off the bat of Pelsor, fired to second baseman McIlhany, whose relay throw to first baseman Krol was just in time to nab Pelsor.
UW-Oshkosh's third-inning double play commenced the string of 13 straight batters retired by Smaney and Robbe to finish the game.
The Titans tacked on three insurance runs on three hits and one Lady Reds error in the sixth inning. Petrus sparked the rally with a leadoff double. McIlhany drove in Petrus with a one-out single to right field, and Abby Menting provided a two-out, two-run single up the middle with the bases loaded.
McIlhany and Petrus both had two of the Titans' seven hits while the Lady Reds were held to just four hits – all singles.
Smaney (5-1) earned the win for the Titans, allowing one run on four hits in five innings pitched. She struck out two and walked one while lowering her season earned run average to 1.59.
Robbe tossed two perfect innings with one strikeout to notch her second save of the year. Robbe, who ranks third nationally with 0.31 walks per seven innings, has not allowed a base on balls during her last 24.1 innings pitched.
Goldsmith (11-2) suffered the complete-game loss for the Lady Reds. She matched her season high with five runs allowed (three earned) on seven hits in six innings pitched. Goldsmith, who sports a 1.09 earned run average, had given up just two earned runs over her previous 35 innings pitched.
UW-Oshkosh plays its final home games of the regular season when it hosts 13th-ranked UW-Whitewater for a doubleheader on Saturday (April 22).