The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee wins two games in Snowbird Classic

It was a successful weekend for the Milwaukee Panthers baseball team in the Snowbird Classic. Not only was it warm and sunny in Florida, but the Panthers also played well.

In their first game the Panthers knocked off Omaha, 5-4, as pitchers Cody Peterson and Jake Tuttle combined to throw nine strong innings.

Pederson started the game for the Panthers throwing five innings. In the first four innings he was perfect while also striking out five batters.

After Pederson was able to get the first out in the fifth, the Mavericks rallied scoring four runs on five hits. Pederson did fight through the adversity, as he was able to finish the inning.

The Panthers came back though and scored five runs, scoring all of them with at least one out. First basemen Pat Wilson did most of the damage as he belted a homerun down the right field line, scoring Derek Peake and Luke Meeteer.

After five innings of play, Milwaukee led 5-4. Neither team would score another run in the game as pitching dominated the rest of the way.

For the Panthers, Tuttle threw the last four innings, only allowing two Mavericks to reach base.

This was a great first win for the Panthers as they recorded 10 hits, while their pitching was solid. One problem in this game for Milwaukee was that they left nine players on base. A win is a win, but this will be something the Panthers need to improve on in order to win close games on a consistent basis.

The next opponent the Panthers faced in the Snowbird Classic was Ball State. This game ended up also being dominated by pitching. Brian Keller started for the Panthers, while the Cardinals had Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year, Scott Baker take the mound.

Ball State got on the board first as they scored a run in the second inning, but Milwaukee came right back in the bottom of the frame to tie the game up at one apiece.

Peake hit a hard double to bring Tyler Hermann home to give the Panthers their first run of the game.

The Cardinals then came back in the fourth hitting two solo homeruns to go up 3-1. This would be the same score the game would end in, as Ball State’s pitching was too much for the Panthers lineup to handle.

Milwaukee had their chances to win this game, stranding seven base runners. When facing excellent pitchers, no team can expect to leave this many players on base if they want to win. The Panthers needed someone to step up and make that timely hit, but unfortunately no one was able to, costing them the victory.

On Saturday the Panthers had a big test as they went up against an undefeated Kansas Jayhawks squad. Milwaukee recorded 12 hits, while scoring eight runs, but it was not enough as the Jayhawks came back to win.

Milwaukee held an 8-6 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs and a runner on first and second, the Jayhawks got a rally going to take a 9-8 lead.

The Panthers left 10 men on base, but in this game pitching was the big difference. The offense did its job by scoring eight runs, but unlike the first two games in the Snowbird Classic, the pitching let the Panthers down.

The final game for Milwaukee in their weekend tournament was against St. Bonaventure, who was by far the Panthers easiest test this weekend. The Panthers destroyed the Bonnies winning 14-3. Sam Koenig was the difference as the senior was a perfect 4-4 at the plate including two walks and two runs batted in.

Koenig along with Mike Porcaro, Sam Hammer and Ryan McShane all had multiple hits on the day, allowing the Panthers to poor on the runs.

Both teams had 13 hits apiece, but Milwaukee’s pitching was the difference.

Gunner Eastman got the start for the Panthers, throwing five complete innings allowing only two runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out a pair.

The Panthers jumped out to the lead in the first inning as Porcaro ripped a double into the gap. Koenig hit a double of his own driving in Porcaro.

The Bonnies ended up taking a 2-1 lead after their half of the first inning, and held the lead until the fourth inning.

The Panthers were able to take a 5-2 lead, and that would be the closest the game got the rest of the way, as Milwaukee continued to send hitter by hitter up to the plate.

Not only was this the widest margin of victory for the Panthers so far this season, but also this was by far their best performance of the season. Their offense obviously did not miss a beat, putting up 14 runs on 13 hits while drawing eight walks. Milwaukee’s pitching also did a phenomenal job walking only one batter, and stranding nine of the Bonnies base runners.

Overall this trip to Florida was a success, while they should have won three of the four games, going .500 is still respectable for this early on in the season. There was many things done will in this series, but the Panthers still have room to improve.

The Panthers need to work on not stranding so many runners on base, and getting those timely, situational hits to score at least another run or two per game. Their pitching for the most part did a great job, although they did have one blemish allowing Kansas to comeback and win.

Up next the Panthers (2-5) will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to face Kansas State in a three game series this weekend.

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