Whitewater, Wis.(UW-L) - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse baseball team fell 17-5 in seven innings at top-seeded and third-ranked UW-Whitewater Saturday night in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship game at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium. The Eagles fall to 26-16 on the season while the Warhawks improve to 36-7. With the win, UW-Whitewater earns the league's automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Championships.
The Warhawks earned their third win of the day with the victory over the Eagles Saturday night. UW-Whitewater advanced to the championship series with an 8-1 victory over third-seeded and 14th-ranked UW-Stevens Point in its first game of the day. The Warhawks then earned a 6-4 win in 10 innings over UW-L to force the second championship game. UW-L advanced to the title game after earning a 2-1 victory over UW-Stevens Point and 12-3 win over UW-Whitewater Friday.
UW-L, receiving votes on this week's American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III Poll and the second-seed for this weekend's league championships, won 15 of its last 18 games overall.
UW-Whitewater took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning Saturday night as Jared Fon hit a ground-rule double to start the frame and advanced to third after Dylan Friend flied out to rightfield. Mikole Pierce then followed with a sacrifice fly to score Fon.
UW-L tied the game in the top of third as Nic Barnes tripled with one out and scored on Taylor Kohlwey's single. UW-Whitewater came right back in the bottom of the third with five runs to take a 6-1 advantage. Pierce had a two-run double and Casey Power hit a two-run triple for the Warhawks.
The Eagles tallied four runs in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 6-5. Bryce Barsness singled to start the rally and scored on Cole Cefalu's triple to make it 6-2. Alex Cordova followed with a sacrifice fly to knock in Cefalu. Jordan Greenland then singled and advanced to third on Joel Zyhowski's single. Greenland then scored on a Josh Rowles' sacrifice bunt to cut the lead to 6-4. Zyhowski later moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Carter Hoffman's single to make it a one-run game. Barnes singled to move Hoffman to third, but UW-L failed to score the tying run.
UW-Whitewater sent 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, scoring 11 runs on nine hits. All 11 runs scored before UW-L recorded the first out of the inning. Power had four RBI in the inning, including a three-run home run. Trey Cannon and Pierce each had two RBI.
The game was called after seven innings due to the league's 10-run rule.
Troy Kenkel (3-2) suffered the loss for UW-L, pitching 2.1 innings, allowing six hits and five runs. The Eagles used seven pitchers in the game. Barsness and Barnes each went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Austin Jones (6-1) earned the win for UW-Whitewater, going 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs with four strikeouts. Eight of nine starters had a hit for the Warhawks as the team finished with 17 overall. Power went 4-for-4 with two runs and six RBI while Pierce finished 2-for-3 with two runs and five RBI. Fon and Gonzalez each went 3-for-4 with Fon scoring twice with two RBI. Gonzalez scored three runs.
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