Whitewater baseball falls in hearbreaker in NCAA Regional - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Whitewater baseball falls in hearbreaker in NCAA Regional

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LA CROSSE, Wis. – The No. 3 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team held a lead for a majority of the game Saturday before Concordia Chicago rallied for five runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a stunning 8-7 setback in an NCAA Midwest Regional contest at Copeland Field.

The loss ended the Warhawks' season at 35-11 overall, the team's eighth consecutive 30-win season and the sixth straight year with at least 33. UW-Whitewater claimed the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season championship and was making its eighth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars (33-14) advance to take on UW-La Crosse in an elimination game later Saturday.

Senior pitcher Mike Nompleggi started on the mound and tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits. Senior second baseman Nick Kuhlmann and senior shortstop Mikole Pierce each homered for the Warhawks.

Sophomore left-hander Donnie Manke took the loss, concluding the season with a 1-2 record.

UW-Whitewater took a four-run lead in the second inning and Nompleggi kept the ball down on the Cougars' hitters, inducing 13 groundouts.

After a one-out walk by senior first baseman Casey Power in the second, the Warhawks tallied five straight hits. Freshman centerfielderDaytona Bryden put two on with a bunt base hit, and senior designated hitter Adam Gregory plated both Power and Bryden on a double to deep centerfield.

Senior catcher Mike Mierow made it 3-0 with a base hit to left field, and, after an infield single by freshman right fielder Will Helbing put runners at the corners, Kuhlmann knocked in Mierow with a sharp single to left.

UW-Whitewater turned double plays behind Nompleggi in both the third and fourth innings.

Pierce, who started both double plays and made a fantastic play on a ground ball to end the fourth, led off the fifth with a solo home run to center, his team-leading 10th of the year, to make it a 5-0 score.

After Nompleggi pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth, Kuhlmann led off the seventh with his fourth homer of the year, a deep drive out to left field, to give the Warhawks a 6-0 lead. Later in the inning, Cannon scored on a ground ball by sophomore third baseman Steve Chamberlain to increase the UW-Whitewater advantage to seven.

UW-Whitewater's shutout streak ended at 24 2/3 innings as the Cougars plated a pair in the bottom of the seventh.

Concordia Chicago added another in the eighth, and scored five in the ninth on three walks, three hits and a balk.

Cannon, Gregory, Kuhlmann, Mierow, Pierce, pitcher Colin Grove, outfielder Kyle Haen, pitcher Andrew Lowe, infielder Casey Power andpitcher Matt Roberts leave quite a legacy behind.

Over the last four seasons, the Warhawks compiled a 147-44 record, good for a .770 winning percentage. Over that span, UW-Whitewater won three conference regular season titles and two WIAC Tournament championships.

The Warhawks reached four NCAA Tournaments in that timeframe, winning the national championship in 2014.
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