The D2 Badgers started off their conference season with a bang last weekend, traveling to UW-La Crosse and sweeping the Eagles to move into first place in District V West.
UW 4, UWL 0
Alec Nelson dazzled in the opener, throwing a no-hitter to set the tone for the weekend. The tall right-hander had both of his breaking pitches working, allowing the junior to strike out seven Eagles. The closest the Eagles came to getting a base hit was the first batter of the game, when the lead off man drove a pitch to the right side. Sophomore second baseman Alexis Quintero ranged to his right, made a diving stop, got to his feet and fired to first for the out. From there, it was all Nelson, who dominated the Eagles’ hitters until senior third baseman Patrick O’Connell caught the final out.
The Badgers scored three runs in the third on RBIs from sophomore outfielder Ryan Wenzel, Quintero and junior outfielder Chris Trafton.
UW 11, UWL 10
Game 2 of the weekend was a different story for UW, as walks and defensive miscues allowed the Eagles to take a 10-3 lead in the fourth. But the Badgers refused to give up.
Down seven runs in the fifth, UW began to chip away, plating two runs to cut the deficit to five. After a one-two-three inning from freshman pitcher Bobby Pfefferle, Wisconsin used that momentum to tie the game in the sixth.
Wenzel came in to pinch hit, leading off the inning with a single up the middle to get the rally started. After an error, Quintero drove in Wenzel. With guys on second and third, junior catcher Bobby Ehrlich singled up the middle to make it 10-8 La Crosse. After two quick outs, senior outfielder Tony DeBartolo strode to the plate with the tying run on second. On the third pitch of the at-bat, DeBartolo crushed a no-doubter home run to left field to knot the game at ten.
Pfefferle escaped trouble in the sixth and seventh, before sophomore shortstop Jake Gain singled home sophomore DH Tyler Behle to give the Badgers the lead in the eighth. Pfefferle would shut the door in the bottom half to secure UW’s come-from-behind victory. The freshman was masterful in relief, going 4 and ⅔ innings and allowing zero runs to allow the Badgers to come back.
UW 7, UWL 2
The Badgers scored four runs in the top of the first, which was all UW would need to complete the sweep. DeBartolo, Gain, Behle and Pfefferle each delivered RBIs in the first.
Andrew Wolfe earned the win, striking out four over four innings of work and allowing just one run.
Behle led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Gain was the offensive MVP of the weekend, going 4-for-7 with four RBIs.