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Nationally Ranked Titans Fall Twice In Iowa

Claire Petrus hit her first home run of the year for the Titans.
Claire Petrus hit her first home run of the year for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh's Abby Menting and Claire Petrus both homered in the opener, but Wartburg College (Iowa) went on to sweep a doubleheader against the nationally ranked Titan softball team Sunday (March 24) in Waverly, Iowa.

Wartburg College (13-5), playing its first home games of the year, defeated UW-Oshkosh by scores of 13-5 and 11-3. Both games were halted after five innings due to the eight-run rule.

UW-Oshkosh (4-4), ranked 20th in the NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, held leads in both contests Sunday before the Knights stormed back to erase a 5-2 deficit in the first game and 2-0 during the second contest.

The Knights outhit the Titans, 26-16, on the day. Seven of Wartburg College's hits went for extra bases.

Kailee O'Brien accounted for five of the Knights' hits while Leah Campos and Sydney Illg hit home runs for Wartburg College.

Menting went a combined 4-for-6 in the two games for the Titans, collecting her 100th career run batted in during the second contest.

UW-Oshkosh's Chloe Lambie produced a pair of hits in both games Sunday.

In the first game of the day, Menting gave the Titans a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-out home run to center field.

Wartburg College answered with two runs in the home half of the first frame, but Petrus launched a three-run homer to left field with two outs in the second inning as the Titans regained a 4-2 lead. Lambie then increased the UW-Oshkosh advantage to 5-2 with a run-scoring infield single in the third inning.

The home runs from Menting and Petrus were the first of the year for the Titans. Menting, who has a team-leading .481 batting average this season, now has 15 homers during her career, while Petrus upped her career total to five home runs.

The Knights responded with five runs on four hits in the home half of the third inning and never trailed after a two-out RBI single from starting pitcher Brenna Gray knotted the score at 5. Wartburg College took the lead for good at 7-5 two batters later as a throwing error on Titans third baseman Grace Stevens allowed two unearned runs to score.

Wartburg College capped its string of 11 unanswered runs with a sacrifice fly from Morgan Goedken ended the game with two outs in the fifth inning.

Gray, O'Brien and Hannah Onken each had two of the Knights' 11 hits.

Gray improved her season record to 7-1 by despite giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings pitched.

Knights relief pitcher Lauren Reicks earned her fourth save of the year after pitching two hitless innings.

Lambie went 2-for-3 to pace the Titans. Stevens added a double for UW-Oshkosh.

UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney (2-2) was charged with the loss after yielding nine runs (six earned) on eight hits in 3.1 innings. She walked six and struck out two.

The Titans' three errors led to six unearned runs for Wartburg College.

During the second contest, UW-Oshkosh once again struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning as Petrus and Menting began the game with back-to-back doubles to left field. Lambie then plated Menting with a two-out single.

Wartburg College responded with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first frame and never looked back. The Knights tied the score at 2 following a double-steal for their first run and a wild pitch on a strikeout allowed the tying run to score. Grace Peterson later laced a two-run triple with two outs for a 4-2 advantage.

Menting's 100th career RBI pulled the Titans within 4-3 in the top of the second inning as her single with the bases loaded scored Jordan Manthei. Menting finished the game 3-for-3 for her 37th career multiple-hit game.

Illg smacked a two-run homer that increased the Knights' lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the second frame. Campos added a two-run homer during the fourth inning for Wartburg College.

O'Brien, Peterson and Liz Roby-Miklus each collected three of Wartburg College's 15 hits. Roby-Milkus accounted for four of the Knights' seven stolen bases in the nightcap.

Knights relief pitcher Maddie Rog (5-2) earned the win, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings after entering in the second inning.

Petrus (2-2) took the complete-game loss for the Titans, surrendering 15 hits and five walks.

UW-Oshkosh travels to Florida for eight games next week. The Titans commence their trip to the Sunshine State against St. Olaf College (Minn.) on Tuesday (March 26).