Titans Salvage Split Against Duhawks

Abby Menting went 4-for-5 with a double during the Titans' win over Loras College in the nightcap.
Abby Menting went 4-for-5 with a double during the Titans' win over Loras College in the nightcap.

Abby Menting and Amanda McIlhany combined for nine of UW-Oshkosh's 17 hits on the day as the Titans split a softball doubleheader with Loras College (Iowa) on Saturday (March 23) in Dubuque, Iowa.

UW-Oshkosh (4-2), ranked 20th in the NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, rebounded to win the second game, 10-7, after Loras College (7-8-1) claimed the opener by a 2-1 score on a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Menting went 4-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in during the nightcap, marking the second four-hit performance of her career.

McIlhany matched her career high with three of the Titans' season-best 14 hits in the second contest. Natalie Dudek chipped in two hits during UW-Oshkosh's victory while Kailee Garstecki scored three runs.

UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Claire Petrus (2-1) picked up the win in the second game after giving up five runs (three earned) on five hits in five total innings across two stints in the pitcher's circle. She walked four batters and struck out two.

The Titans took the lead for good at 9-3 behind a six-run top of the third inning. Menting led off the decisive frame with a double and came around to score on a single by McIlhany. Sidney Budzinski followed with a run-scoring single before Garstecki drew a walk to load the bases with two outs.

Chloe Lambie walked to score McIlhany for a 5-3 UW-Oshkosh lead ahead of Kaitlyn Krol, who laced a two-run single. Menting then capped the six-run outburst with an RBI single.

The first five Loras College batters reached base to begin the home half of the fourth inning as the Duhawks cut their deficit to 9-5 with run-scoring hits from Noely Baumann and Shannon Coyle. With the bases loaded and no outs, Lambie, the Titans' right fielder, caught a fly ball and fired in plenty of time to Menting at home plate to nab Baumann attempting score from third base. UW-Oshkosh maintained its four-run lead as relief pitcher Sydney Budzinski escaped further damage by fielding a groundball back to the pitcher's circle to retire the side and conclude her two-inning outing.

The Titans tacked on an insurance run in the top of the fifth frame despite opening the inning with two quick outs. Lambie sparked the rally with a walk, Krol reached via an error and Menting drove home Lambie with a single.

Loras College pulled within 10-7 on a two-out, two-run single from Melanie Gebrig in the sixth inning, but Petrus set down all three Duhawk batters in the seventh to preserve the victory.

UW-Oshkosh took a 1-0 lead in the first inning following a two-out double by Dudek that scored Garstecki, who roped the first pitch of the game for a double. The Titans later reclaimed a 3-1 advantage in the second inning after Katie Fontanetta scored on a wild pitch and Garstecki came in to score on a subsequent passed ball.

Coyle and Ashley Lentine both accounted for two of the Duhawks' 10 hits.

Loras College relief pitcher Emily Reilly (1-3) suffered the loss, yielding six runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.

In the first game of the day, Lentine hit a leadoff home run in the sixth inning to make a winner of Loras College starting pitcher Kyleigh Becker, who limited UW-Oshkosh to just three hits and an unearned run on the way to recording a complete-game win.

Becker (2-1) retired the last eight UW-Oshkosh batters after allowing a one-out single to McIlhany in the top of the fourth inning. The other UW-Oshkosh hits were a Menting single to lead off the second inning and a Lambie double with one out in the third.

UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney suffered the complete-game loss despite giving up just two runs (one earned) on five hits. Smaney (2-1) allowed her first runs of the season after 11 scoreless innings across her first two starts.

The Titans opened the scoring in the second inning after Menting came in to score from third base on a fielding error with two outs.

The Duhawks tied the score at 1 in the third inning after a sacrifice fly from Lentine plated Madison Franks, who reached first base via an error to lead off the frame.

UW-Oshkosh remains in Iowa to play a doubleheader at Wartburg College on Sunday (March 24) in Waverly.