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Zach Taylor went 9-for-11 with five runs, five RBIs, two doubles and two home runs against the Eagles on Sunday. Photo Credit: Jennifer Zuberbier, UW-Oshkosh Athletics
Zach Taylor went 9-for-11 with five runs, five RBIs, two doubles and two home runs against the Eagles on Sunday. Photo Credit: Jennifer Zuberbier, UW-Oshkosh Athletics

Taylor Records Nine Hits As Titans Split With Eagles

LA CROSSE, Wis.- Zach Taylor recorded nine hits in 11 at-bats as the UW-Oshkosh baseball team split with UW-La Crosse at Copeland Park on Sunday (April 14) with a 17-6 win and a 17-15 loss.

The Titans are now 13-13 overall and 7-7 in WIAC play while the Eagles improved to 18-6 and 7-3.

Taylor (Sr. • Long Grove, Ill.) went 4-for-5 and reached on an error in his third at-bat, recording a base in each of his plate appearances in the first game of the day and went 4-for-4 before a groundout ended his on-base streak in the seventh inning of game two. He finished the day with five runs scored, five RBIs, two doubles and two home runs.

Connor Walters started on the hill for Oshkosh at noon. He struck out three batters and forced 10 flyouts while allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, improving his record to 2-3 on the season.

Scoring started early for the Titans after Nick Shiu (Jr. • Gurnee, Ill.) and Taylor both singled to lead off the second inning. Mason Kirchberg (Jr. • DeForest) doubled to left center as the next batter, scoring Shiu and advancing Taylor to third. Taylor later scored on a Carter Stebane (Jr. • Brillion) sacrifice fly to center field to give Oshkosh an early 2-0 edge.

Walters put the Eagles down in order in the bottom half of the second and the Titans recorded four more runs in the top of the third. Jack McNamara (So. • La Grange, Ill.) was hit by a pitch, Jake Surane (Sr. • Lincolnshire, Ill.) singled up the middle and Taylor reached on an error, advancing to second while both McNamara and Surane reached home. A Kirchberg walk and a Braydon Skenandore (So. • De Pere) single knocked Alex Redman out of the game. Owen Deprez came in as relief and walked Connelly who scored Taylor and forced Stebane to fly out but Kirchberg tagged up for another run in his first two batters faced.

La Crosse scored its first run in the bottom of the third when Jack Olver doubled to right center and Nate Witte ran home from second.

Kirchberg made the score 7-1 in the top of the fourth on an RBI single to left center before the Eagles scored on an error and a single to left field in the bottom of the inning.

The Titans further extended their lead in the fifth inning when Surane knocked in two runs on a single through the left side then scored on an error and Taylor mashed a two RBI home run to right.

George Seaman cut Oshkosh's lead to 12-5 in the bottom of the fifth when he homered to right field to score two runs. La Crosse scored another run in the sixth inning with a bases loaded walk off relief pitcher Josh Jansen (So. • DeForest).

Taylor knocked a solo home run to center field with two outs, kicking off a 5-run seventh inning. Kirchberg walked, Skenandore singled through the left side and Danny Connelly (Fr. • Mundelein, Ill.) was hit by a pitch in the following three at-bats to load the bases for Stebane, who sent in two more runs on a single to right center. Brenden Max (So. • Libertyville, Ill.) then put two more runs on the board with a 2-RBI single of his own.

Jansen put the Eagles down in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the 17-6 win and finish his day with 1.1 innings pitched, no hits and just one walk.

Oshkosh picked up right where it left off in the top of the first inning of game two, scoring a run on a Shiu single to center field and three more when Kirchberg hit a shot over the right field fence.

Jansen also continued pitching in the second game, earning the start after his lockdown work at the tail end of the previous game. He threw 4.1 innings and struck out three while the Eagles recorded six runs (five earned) off eight hits when he was on the mound.

Two RBI singles for La Crosse made the score 4-2 at the end of the first inning and the Titans responded with a Shiu RBI single to left and a Taylor 2-RBI single to left center to maintain the edge.

After Jansen forced two flyouts to Shiu and a strikeout, Surane homered to right, scoring Max and Stebane to increase Oshkosh's sizeable lead further to 10-2 in the top of the third.

The rest of the third and the entire fourth inning went scoreless before McNamara put another Stebane run on the board with an RBI groundout in the fifth.

Jansen allowed a leadoff triple to start the bottom of the fifth which La Crosse capitalized on with an RBI single and 2-RBI home run, putting the pressure on with an 11-5 score. Aaron Huibregtse (Jr. • Oostburg) relieved Jansen and gave up another run before getting out of the inning on a double play.

Kirchberg hit his second home run of the day in the sixth inning after Taylor doubled to right center. Anthony Vivian recorded the following run with a solo home run for the Eagles in the seventh inning.

After Brett Gaynor (Fr. • Long Grove, Ill.) came in to pitch for Huibregtse, La Crosse cut the deficit to three runs in the eighth inning with a 2-RBI single and an RBI groundout.

McNamara and Surane made the score 15-10 in the ninth inning when Kirchberg sent them both across the plate with a single to left field. Unfortunately, Oshkosh stranded him and Shiu when the Eagles escaped the inning with a 5-run deficit headed into the final frame.

Gaynor allowed an RBI double and three run home run before letting up a single and a hit by pitch and getting pulled. Alex Windey (Jr • Wrightstown) came in with runners on first and second and allowed a three run home run against his first batter faced, ending the game on a walkoff.

The Titans will return to Tiedemann Field on Wednesday (April 17) for the second set of games against UW-Stevens Point. They split the first doubleheader with the Pointers on April 10 with a 7-1 win and a 14-2 loss.