WHITEWATER, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Six times before Friday's meeting, UW-La Crosse baseball found themselves able to send WIAC rival UW-Whitewater home with a loss. All six of those games were at North Campus Field.
So, how would the seventh time go?
An NCAA Midwest Regional elimination game, it would be their final meeting of 2012. This time, however, it would be at Whitewater.
The Warhawks jumped out to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning, when Jared Fon launched his only hit of the game over the left-field fence. The two-run home run made it a 2-0 Whitewater lead.
They extend the gap with a Michael Gonzalez base hit up the middle with runners on the corners. On the arm of Onalaska native Kyle Stewart, the Warhawks took a 7-1 lead into the 7th. That's when Matthew Beyer put his only hit of the game also over the fence. Three runs score on the home run for a 10-1 advantage to Whitewater.
But, as they did all season, UW-L battled back late. In the 9th inning with the bases loaded, Adam Cordova ripped a double to right-center, clearing the bases. Then, later in the inning, Brett Jacobsen followed suit with a double of his own, plating two more runs. Suddenly, the Eagles only trailed by three.
It would prove to be too little, too late. With the tying run at the plate, the Warhawks secured the final out, advancing in the tournament and sending UW-L home on a 10-7 loss.
Cordova said, "It was a hard-fought game all the way through. We couldn't ask for a better ending for our team for fighting. We came up short, but it was sure a fun ride."
"We feel good about the overall season," said Eagles Head Coach Chris Schwarz. "It's hard to sit back and reflect on the whole season right now, but we're not satisfied with just being here. The work for next year starts tomorrow."
It wasn't all bad news today for UW-L, though. Viroqua native Jay Fanta was named All-Midwest Region Player of the Year, and Schwarz was named the region's Coach of the Year. The Eagles finished the season with a program-best 34-11 record.
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