MENOMONIE, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin Platteville baseball team opened WIAC conference play by going 1-3 on the weekend, falling 5-4 in the first game, 8-7 in second game in the Saturday double header. On Sunday, the Pioneers lost the first game, 7-3 and the last game of the series, the Pioneer earned their first conference win, beating the Blue Devils 10-6.
In the first game, the Pioneers struck first in the top of the first. After second basemen Colin Deboer drew and walk and right fielder Josh Moses got hit by a pitch, left fielder Kyle Reinhart singled in Deboer to make it 1-0. However, the Blue Devils were able to hang two in the bottom half of the frame. The Pioneers struck back in the third inning. Shortstop Taylor Christopher singled in Moses and DH Mitch Marty. Christopher later scored that inning from a single from third basemen Curtis Barsness. The score read 4-2, Pioneers. The Blue Devils would then go on to score three unanswered runs over the next six innings. The Pioneers came close to tying it in the top of the ninth inning but the rally fell just short and the Pioneers dropped the first game. Nathan Fay started the game for the Pioneers, going five innings, surrendering seven hits, and three runs, two of them which were earned. He also struck out two. Eric Curtis and Ben Zwitter were able to damage control and Riley Vandenberg closed out the game.
The second game was a one run ball game, just like the first game. The Blue Devils struck first in the bottom of the first. A critical error allowed two runs to come across the board. The Pioneers were able to slice the lead in half in the top of the second. Christopher took advantage of the error by the shortstop. First basemen Jonny Frese was able to move Christopher over to second. Christopher was able to advance to third with some smart base running, tagging on a fly to the first basemen. He later came across home from a James Pavlik single. UW-Stout was able to score five unanswered runs to push the deficit to 7-1.
In the top of the sixth inning, the bats came to life for the Pioneers. Reinhart got on by a throwing error from the third basemen, and advanced to second. Christopher drew a walk and both runners advanced to second and third from a pass ball. Frese was able to clutch up hit a two RBI double. The sloppy play by the Blue Devils continued, as catcher Connor Crotty was able get on by throwing error by the left fielder and Frese was able to race home. Pavlik doubled home Crotty and later scored on sac fly from Marty to make it a one run ball game. The Blue Devils tacked one more on in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Pioneers were able to cut it again back to one run in the 7th inning. Barsness was able to lift a sac fly to score Reinhart. However that was not enough, as UW-Stout shut the door for a 7-6 win. Tyler Vogel started the game for the Pioneers, he went 5.1 innings and struck out two. Matt Allen and Scottie Gordon were able to hold the Blue Devils to zero runs over the final 2.2 innings.
On Sunday, Moses continued his hot streak, hitting solo shot in the top of the fourth. The freshman is hitting an outstanding .429 on the year. He also has 24 RBI's and four home runs and has scored 23 runs. Deboer was able to single with two outs. Reinhart was able to double him home later that inning. UW-Stout was able to score seven more runs and limit the Pioneers to two hits over the last five innings. The Pioneers were able to score one more run in the ninth inning, Moses was able single in Crotty but that wasn't enough and the final score read 7-3. Lucas Keller went seven strong innings, and Gordon finished out the last inning.
In the fourth and final game of the series, the Pioneers were able to break through and win their first conference game of the year. UW-Platteville was to score two runs right away. Deboer was single home Marty and Moses to take the 2-0 lead. The Blue Devils scored one in the bottom of the frame. Stout took the 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but that lead didn't last long.
The Pioneers pushed five runs across the board in the top of the fourthinning. With two outs, and Frese on first, Crotty was hit by a pitch. Marty was then able to hit an RBI single, and Moses and Deboer followed with each of their own. Christopher was able to double home Moses and Deboer to make the score 7-3. In the top of the fifth inning, the Pioneer scored two more runs off Marty RBI fielder's choice and Deboer RBI double. The Blue Devils made 9-5 until the seventh inning. Deboer knock in his third RBI of the day, scoring Pavlik. UW-Stout scored one more run in the bottom of the 7th inning but that was not enough as the Pioneers held on for the 10-6 win. Caleb Kaufmann started the game and earned his third win on the year. Colton Bormann and Cal Krafcheck relieved Kaufmann and shut the door on the Blue Devils, giving up only one run between them.
The Pioneers look to bounce back in the conference race as they host UW-Stevens Point in a four-game series at Kendall Murray Field on Thursday (4/13) and Friday (4/14). Thursday games are set for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Friday's games are slated for noon and 3 p.m..