The University of Wisconsin-Platteville baseball season got underway this weekend at the Derby City Classic in Louisville, Kent. The Pioneers competed in three tightly contested games, but were unable to pull out a win on the extended weekend.
Returning All-WIAC selection Josh Moses had the hottest bat on the weekend going 6-13 with three doubles, a triple, and four RBI. Collin Mormann was 5-12 and drew a pair of walks on the weekend, and Mitchell Susa went 5-13 at the plate.
In their opening game against Olivet (1-2) on Sunday afternoon, UW-Platteville suffered a 7-6, 10th inning loss to the Comets. Tied 3-3 heading into the top of the 8th, Olivet put themselves up on a Junior Gomez home run. In the bottom of the inning Connor Crotty answered for the Pioneers with a sac fly that scored Josh Moses.
The Comets put themselves ahead once again in the top of the 9th, and once again UW-Platteville answered. Susa led off the frame with a single to left field, advanced to second on a Brennan Kearny sac bunt, and moved to third on a Jonathon Kelso fly ball to right field. With only an out remaining, Mormann tied the game at 5-5 with a single to right.
Olivet responded yet again in extra innings. Gomez crushed his second homer of the game with one out in the top of the frame, and the Comets were able to get a second run across in the inning on a single by Riley Bennett.
The Pioneers were presented with an opportunity to tie and win the game in the bottom of the 10th, but were unable to capitalize. They loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and a hit batsman. After a Susa strikeout, Brooks Chandler drew a walk to plate Curtis Barsness and pull the Pioneers within a run. The UW-Platteville rally ended there, however, as Kelso and Paul Maguire struck out to end the game.
In their Sunday evening matchup with Aurora (2-1), errors and a lack of timely hitting were to blame for a 3-1 loss. UW-Platteville jumped on the Spartans' Jacob Stockman early as a Ryan Vogel two-out single plated Kelso in the top of the first. The Pioneers struggled from thereon out as they were held to five hits over the final eight innings and went 0-5 with runners in scoring position the rest of the way.
In the bottom of the third the Spartans capitalized on a pair of errors by MJ Ranieri and Susa. With runners on first and second, Jeffrey Mayes singled to center field to score the first Aurora run. Two batters later with runners at the corners, the Pioneers' catcher Collin Mormann threw down to second to catch Mayes' attempt to swipe the base. On the throw the Spartans' Austin Wiskow took off for home. The Pioneers tagged out Mayes in a rundown, but not before Wiskow crossed home to give Aurora a 2-1 lead. Both runs in the innings were unearned.
Aurora added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on a Paul Dobravec groundout. The groundout plated Cale Sparks who had reached on a Barsness throwing error, advanced to second on a Tim Dobrik wild pitch, and moved to third on a Wiskow single.
Dobrik pitched six innings giving up just one earned run, but was charged with the loss. He also struck out six and gave up only four hits.
In their final game of the trip Monday night, an attempt at their first win of the year was spoiled by an eighth inning Spalding (6-0) rally as the Golden Eagles captured an 11-9 win.
UW-Platteville jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings. The Pioneers scored their first run on a double by Kelso in the top of the first, and took advantage of a Golden Eagles error that led to two unearned runs. In the second, the Pioneers once again took advantage of a Spalding mishap. A wild pitch allowed Brendon Reifsteck to score and advanced Moses to third, who then scored on a Susa double.
After a Matt Harper home run pulled the Golden Eagles within 5-2 in the bottom of the second, Moses smoked a three run, two-out double to center field in the top of the third to put UW-Platteville on top 8-2. The two teams traded runs in the bottom of the third and top of the fifth, and the Pioneers took a 9-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Momentum quickly began to swing the Golden Eagles way as they loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs. All three runners eventually scored; the first on a wild pitch, and the second and third on a double by Dillon Sievert. The Pioneers still maintained a 9-7 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, but surrendered four runs in the inning.
Kearny drew a walk to lead off the top of the ninth, but a pair of strikeouts and a grounder to third ended UW-Platteville's weekend.
At the plate UW-Platteville strung together 13 hits in the ballgame and five players had multi-hit performances. Although all five Pioneer pitchers surrendered runs, Scottie Gordon was charged with the loss.
UW-Platteville returns to Louisville next Saturday and Sunday for the second weekend of the Derby City Classic. Saturday they match up with Anderson (Ind.) at 11 a.m. CST and have a 6 p.m. CST rematch with Spalding. They finish the Classic on Sunday against DePauw at 11 a.m CST.
By Korey Schroeder, Sports Information Assistant, UW-Platteville Athletics, 608.342.1255, firstname.lastname@example.org