MILWAUKEE (WLCSports.com) - The Wisconsin Lutheran College baseball team halted its losing skid and opened Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference play with a pair of one-run wins over Marian Thursday afternoon at Neumann Family Field. The Warriors won the opener, 1-0, behind a stellar pitching performance from Dylan Knoespel (Brillion, Wis.) and a walk-off hit from Joe Hanson (La Crosse, Wis.). WLC also won the nightcap, 7-6, following three hits and three RBIs from KJ Banse (Racine, Wis.) and five innings of solid relief pitching.
- Final Scores: Wisconsin Lutheran 1, Marian 0; Wisconsin Lutheran 7, Marian 6
- Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (4-11, 2-0 NACC), Marian (4-11, 0-2 NACC)
- Location: Neumann Family Field, Milwaukee, Wis.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS
- The Warriors placed runners in scoring position each of their first two innings, but left runners stranded in both frames.
- Marian threatened in the third, but left the bases loaded as Knoespel ended the inning with a strikeout. The Sabres also stranded a pair in the fourth and saw their inning come to an end with a runner tagged out at home attempting to score on a wild pitch.
- Neither team really posed much of a scoring threat over the following four innings as the score stood deadlocked at 0-0.
- Wisconsin Lutheran loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth when Brannigan Hart (Davie, Fla.) leadoff with a double, Brett Jakel (Reeseville, Wis.) reached safely on a fielder's choice attempting to move the runner over, and Banse was intentionally walked.
- Hanson followed with a two-strike single up the middle as WLC walked-off for the 1-0 win.
- Knoespel worked around five walks to earn the complete-game shutout victory. He gave up just three hits and fanned three in the second time going the distance this season.
- The Warriors were held to just four hits in the opener.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS
- The Sabres struck first in game two with two runs on three hits in the second inning for a 2-0 lead.
- Their lead wouldn't last long though as the Warriors responded for six runs on just on two hits in their half of the second. WLC's biggest inning of the season was aided by three Marian miscues and a two-RBI double from Banse and an infield single from Jake Wiedower (St. Francis, Wis.).
- MU plated two runs the next inning on a two-out, two-RBI double, but Wisconsin Lutheran still held a 6-4 lead.
- The Sabres threatened in the fourth, but the Warriors nabbed a runner at home after a single to left to end the inning.
- Banse added his third RBI of the game in the sixth on a sacrifice fly that scored Hart and gave WLC a 7-4 lead.
- Marian had its first three batters reach in the eighth, but Brock Vredeveld (Waterloo, Wis.) came on in relief of Jacob Smrz (Milwaukee, Wis.) to retire three straight hitters and limit the Sabres to two runs.
- Vredeveld remained in the game for the ninth and induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double-play to collect the save and preserve the conference-opening sweep for Wisconsin Lutheran.
- Smrz earned the win in relief of starter Jake Constien (Sun Prairie, Wis.) after throwing 3.0 innings and allowing two runs with three strikeouts.
- Banse finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs to lead WLC at the plate.
FOR THE FOES
- Travis Slywka went 2-for-4 for the Sabres in the opener. Zachariah Sandoval suffered the tough loss, as he allowed just one run on four hits in 8.0 innings.
- Sean Meyer finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Marian in game two. Garrett Martin took the loss, pitching just 1.1 innings and allowing three runs with three walks.
- The Warriors play their first conference road games Monday when they travel to Lisle, Illinois, for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader against Benedictine (8-4, 0-0 NACC). Live stats and video will be available for both games at WLCSports.com.