Baseball in hunt for playoff berth: Currently find themselves two games out with just six left to play

Ross Bukoricz
Staff Writer

Offense was the key factor in recent games for the Carroll University Men’s Baseball as they were outscored 116-48 in their last nine games.

After being swept by Marian University in a double header, the Carroll University Men’s Baseball team turned their luckaround the next day and traveled to Concordia (WI) University.  The Pios fell behind 11-5, but the bats caught fire down the stretch scoring runs in the final four innings in a furious comeback attempt that fell just short ending in a 10-12 loss.

Sophomore Drew Volkmann’s three runs batted in and sophomore Nick Sobrilsky’s three runs scored led Carroll. Junior George Simons and sophomore Lee Gough each knocked in a pair of runs to round out the effort.

Next up was a home double header against defending Midwest Conference Champion Beloit College.  The offense had a tough time in both games, mustering just five runs on thirteen hits across the two games.

Catcher Tyler Fitzsimmons lead the offense for the day going three for six with three RBI’s and a run across the two games.  The other bright spot for the day was freshman Sam Mulkey who pitched five innings of relief in the second game without giving up an earned run while striking out three.

The very next day the Pioneers traveled to Beloit for another pair of games.  Game one featured a four run ninth inning rally that fell short ending in a 7-10 defeat, but foreshadowed good things to come in the second game.  Volkmann’s three hits and RBI’s led the team with freshman Jordan Stephans’s and freshman Ethan Bestul each adding three hits.  In game two, Carroll continued right where they were in the ninth inning of game one scoring twelve runs in the first three innings, including eight in the third to break the game open and four more insurance runs in the fifth to ice the contest.  The output was a team effort, with seven of the nine starters recording multi-hit games and all nine either scoring or driving in a run.

Fitzsimmons’ three hits, five RBI’s and two runs led the team along with freshman Alex Sutherland’s three hits and four RBI’s, freshman Matt Francois’ three RBI’s and Sobrilsky’s four runs scored.  Senior Ryne Plager earned the win and freshman Matt Buhrow threw four scoreless innings striking out four and giving up only two hits for the save.

For a team coming off a one win conference season, taking a game from the defending conference champion is a step in the right direction in the rebuilding process.  This shows the hard work being done by Coach Jason Kosanke to move the program from the conference doormat he inherited to contender is paying off.  This is echoed in junior Colin Mulligan calling it a “huge win.”

The next weekend saw Mother Nature beat Carroll and St. Norbert College. Both doubleheaders of the weekend were rained out and were forced to be made up at a later date.

The first doubleheader at home against St. Norbert was made up on Monday. The Pioneers shocked the current division leaders beating the Green Knights 7-6. Cale Ross pitched eight innings to get the win for the orange and white.

Matt Busse hit a three run ringer in the seventh inning to give the Pioneers the lead for good. Steve Belknap came on in the ninth to get the save for Carroll.

In the second game, St. Norbert took advantage of seven Pioneer errors and won the game 14-0. Buhrow was charged with the loss for the Pioneers. Carroll platooned all positions with no player receiving more than two at-bats.

Carroll curently has a 4-6 record in the Midwest Conference. They are still in contention for a playoff spot. If they get the final spot, they will make their first tournament appearance since the 2001 season when they went 8-8 in MWC play before losing 12-5 to Ripon College in the Championship Game.

Due to the cancellation of the Wisconsin Lutheran College and Milwaukee School of Engineering games, the Pioneers will not return to action until May 2 when they travel to Elmhurt College. They will then host Ripon in a MWC doubleheader at Frame Park starting at 1 p.m before traveling to Ripon for another doubleheader.

There will be a make-up doubleheader against St. Norbert in De Pere, Wis., later in the season, but an exact date hasn’t been determined.

Author: Editor

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