UWS steals final playoff berth
The University of Wisconsin-Superior baseball team qualified for the UMAC playoffs with a pair of doubleheader sweeps over the weekend.
The Yellowjackets racked up 27 total hits in a doubleheader sweep of North Central on Saturday, then knocked off Northwestern 10-4 and 6-5 on Sunday. Both twinbills were played at Ted Whereatt Field.
UWS (11-25, 9-7 UMAC) clinched the final playoff berth in dramatic fashion.
Trailing 5-3 heading into the final two innings against Northwestern, the Yellowjackets scored two runs in the eighth inning and sealed their second straight postseason berth when Chad Patko stole home in the ninth.
Spencer Lawniczak drew the Yellowjackets even in the eighth inning by doubling through the left side to drive in two runs.
UWS won the right to play No. 1 St. Scholastica Saints at 7 p.m. Thursday at Wade Stadium.
The first game of the playoffs is No. 2 Bethany Lutheran vs. No. 3 Minnesota Morris at 4 p.m.
The tournament runs through Friday’s championship game at 1 p.m.
Patko was the hitting star in Sunday’s opener, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
Brady Stocker picked up the win, allowng two hits with four strikeouts in four shutout innings in relief of Brock McDermid, who gave up five earned on eight hits while striking out six in five innings.
The Yellowjackets won the opener in far less dramatic fashion.
Grant Schneider pitched seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out nine.
Patko, Travis Miller, Nik Mattson, and Rolf doubled in the victory.
In Saturday’s opener Richard Vanden Branden led UWS to a 5-2 victory.
The senior allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven in the complete-game win.
Patko, Miller and Cory Albertson hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the third inning to put the game out of reach of the Rams (6-25, 2-12).
Lawniczak also went 4-for-5 with a home run, double and three runs scored.
Northwestern.......... 100.... 000 120 — 4 7 4
UW-Superior........... 220.... 000 42x — 10 10 3
Northwestern.......... 004.... 100 000 — 5 10 2
UW-Superior........... 102.... 000 021 — 6 8 0
North Central.......... 000.... 000 020 — 2 5 1
UW-Superior........... 013.... 010 00x — 5 12 0
North Central.......... 000.... 020 0 — 2 3 3
UW-Superior........... 160.... 041 x — 12 15 2
UMAC Baseball Playoffs
Thursday, May 11
Game 1 — No. 2 Bethany Lutheran (20-17, 12-4) vs. No. 3 Minnesota Morris (18-18, 12-4), 4 p.m.
Game 2 — No. 1 St. Scholastica (29-7, 16-0) vs. No. 4 UW-Superior (15-25, 9-7), 7 p.m.
Friday, May 12
Game 3 — Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 4 — Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 4 p.m.
Game 5 — Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 13
Game 6 —Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5, 1 p.m.
Game 7 —If necessary – same teams as Game 6, 4 p.m.
UWS suffered a pair of 5-4 losses in the UMAC tournament Thursday at Kenwood Field in Duluth.
St. Scholastica received the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament with a 7-1 win over Northwestern in Saturday’s title game.
The Saints outscored their opponents 31-1 on the way to winning their 14th UMAC tournament title overall and seventh in the last nine years.
Despite a 12-9 hit advantage the Yellowjackets lost to Bethany Lutheran Thursday morning. They were then eliminated from the tournament later in the day with an eight-inning loss to Northwestern.
UWS, the defending UMAC playoff champions, took a 1-0 lead on Bethany in the third inning when Bailey Armstrong singled with one out and courtesy runner Traci Popple scored on Gabby Gidley’s two-out double down the right-field line.
It went to 2-0 when the Yellowjackets loaded the bases in the fourth inning when singles by Kayla Hartl and Maggie Cragg, and a walk to Ciarra Taipale, was followed by Saige Patrick’s sac fly.
Bethany Lutheran took a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning on Katelyn Karels’ two-run double, a fielder’s choice and Rachel Kurtenback’s triple.
The Yellowackets got one of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Taipale walked for the third time, Patrick singled up the middle and Taipale scored on Katie White’s single.
The Vikings took a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh on Samantha Meginbir’s RBI single.
Bailey Kinnunen singled to start off the bottom of the seventh for UWS and advanced to second on a passed ball.
After two fly outs, Kinnunen scored on Hartl’s double, but the game ended on Cragg’s fly out.
Hartl finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for UWS. Kinnunen and Patrick both had two hits and White, Armstrong, Gidley, Bobbi Jean Miller and Maggie Cragg had a hit each.
Anna Pipenhagen picked up the win, finishing with two strikeouts and four walks.
Against Northwestern, Ann Lokke’s third hit of the day — a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth — ended the Yellowjackets’ season at 16-17.
UWS opened the elimination game with a three-run first, but the Eagles scored four to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
Both pitchers settled in after the first, posting scoreless innings until the fifth, when Yellowjackets’ Patrick tied the game after hitting a leadoff double and coming around to score.
Megan Pehrson went the distance for UWS, allowing five runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts.
UWS had 10 hits, three apiece from Patrick and White, and two each from Armstrong and Cragg.
Bethany Lutheran......... 000 004 1 — 5 9 1
UW-Superior................ 001 101 1 — 4 12 2
UW-Superior................ 300 010 00 — 4 10 0
Northwestern................ 400 000 01 — 5 11 2
UMAC Playoff Schedule
Thursday, May 4
Bethany Lutheran 5, UW-Superior 4
Crown 7, Northwestern 0
St. Scholastica 21, Bethany 0, 5 innings
Northwestern 5, UW-Superior 4, 8 innings
Friday, May 5
St. Scholastica 3, Crown 0
Northwestern 4, Bethany Lutheran 0
Northwestern 2, Crown 1
Saturday’s Championship Game
St. Scholastica 7, Northwestern 1