Claire Petrus drove in the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth inning during the opener as the UW-Oshkosh softball team split a pair of games with Lakeland University on Thursday (April 4) at the UW-Oshkosh Softball Park.
UW-Oshkosh (11-7) won its home opener, 4-2, before Lakeland University (8-10) held on for a 3-2 decision in the nightcap.
In the first contest, UW-Oshkosh was held scoreless on two hits through the first four innings until taking the lead for good with a four-run fifth frame.
Lakeland University took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Titans starting pitcher Bailey Smaney, who went on to retire 11 of 12 Muskies batters between the first through fourth frames.
Meghan Etten led off the game with a single, advanced to second base on a groundout and stole third ahead of Cheyenne Mathas, who drove in Etten with a single to left field. Taylor Bush followed with a single, but Smaney got a groundout and a strikeout to limit the damage to one run.
Smaney then pitched around a two-out fielding error in the second inning, set down the Muskies in order during the third and fourth frames and retired the first two Muskie batters in the fifth.
UW-Oshkosh had runners in scoring position with two outs in both the second and third innings, but Lakeland University starting pitcher Rikki Vela preserved the one-run lead until the fateful fifth frame.
Chloe Lambie drew a walk to lead off the Titan fifth inning and advanced to second base on an infield single from Amanda McIlhany. Grace Stevens laid down a sacrifice bunt to Muskies first baseman Madi Olson, whose resulting throw was errant, allowing Stevens to reach second base and Lambie to score the tying run.
With runners at second and third bases and one out, Petrus delivered a single to right-center that plated McIlhany and Stevens with the eventual game-winning runs. Kaitlyn Krol capped the four-run inning with a two-out RBI single to center field for a 4-1 advantage.
Smaney gave up a one-out single in the top of the fifth inning but recoded a strikeout and an infield popup to thwart the threat. The single was Smaney's first hit allowed since the first inning.
Muskies pinch-hitter Sabrina Wickman singled with one out in the seventh inning and scored on a two-out double by pinch-hitter Morgan Schiedemeyer. Etten followed with a single to put runners at the corners. With the go-ahead run at the plate, Smaney got Amber Andersen to pop out to McIlhany at second base to conclude the game.
Smaney (7-3), who won her third straight decision, scattered eight hits in the complete-game effort, registering six strikeouts without issuing a walk.
Krol went 2-for-3 to pace the Titan offense.
Vela (0-3) suffered the loss for the Muskies after surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk across 4.1 innings.
Bush and Etten had two hits apiece for Lakeland University.
In the nightcap, Lakeland University once again scored a run in the top of the first frame and hung on after taking a 3-0 lead after three innings.
Mathas provided an RBI groundout in the first inning for the Muskies, who scored on a wild pitch with one out and Schiedemeyer's two-out double in the third frame. Schiedemeyer finished the game 3-for-3.
UW-Oshkosh outhit the Muskies, 9-5, during the second game but stranded 11 baserunners, leaving the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth innings.
The Titans pulled within 3-2 in the home half of the sixth inning following a squeeze bunt from Carly Szada that scored McIlhany and a two-out RBI double by Petrus.
McIlhany later singled with two outs in the home half of the seventh inning, but Muskies starting pitcher Leah Binsfeld got a sharp lineout to end the game.
Binsfeld (4-3) went the distance, allowing two runs (one earned) on nine hits. She walked two and struck out one.
Etten added a pair of doubles for Lakeland University.
Petrus (4-4) was charged with the complete-game loss despite holding the Muskies to three runs (one earned) on just five hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
McIlhany and Menting both had two hits for the Titans.
Lakeland University snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Titans, defeating UW-Oshkosh for the first time since a 3-0 win April 8, 2004.
UW-Oshkosh begins conference play at UW-La Crosse on Saturday (April 6).
Photo by Steve Frommell, D3 Photography