If the UW-Stout baseball season did indeed come to a close Thursday, at least it will be on a positive note as the Blue Devils recorded a 9-2, 7-1, non-conference sweep over St. Thomas at Nelson Field to run their winning streak to six games.
Stout’s season could continue if they earn a berth in the WIAC tournament, but they’ll need help.
The Blue Devils (20-15) closed the regular season with 20 wins, their first 20-win season since 2014, doubling last season’s win totals. The wins also assured Stout of their first plus-.500 season since the 2007 season.
St. Thomas (17-14) took the lead in the first inning in both games, but the Blue Devils answered back in both games. Stout allowed two runs in the first inning of the first game, but used a five run push in the bottom half of the inning to switch the momentum. The Tommies took a 1-0 lead in the second game, but Stout tied the game in the bottom of the first inning and held St. Thomas scoreless the rest of the way.
In the opener, Stout used four hits in the first inning. Kyle Hamilton drove home a pair of runs, Tim Bott recorded his first RBI of the season — he would add two more in the game — and freshman Charlie Szykowny smacked a two-run double to give Stout a 5-2 lead.
The Blue Devils added a pair of runs in the third inning when Bott secured his second RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly and Szykowny recorded his third RBI of the contest. Stout added a run in the fourth on Joel Thimsen’s fielder’s choice and another run in the sixth when Bott reached on an error but drove in a run.
Jack Donahue recorded the win, scattering seven hits and recording two strikeouts over six innings of work. Szykowny was 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead Stout. Kasey Bass, Danny Deis and Kyle Hamliton each had two hits.
In the nightcap, Casey Ryan recorded his fourth consecutive win, going five innings, allowing five hits and the one earned run. Ryan struck out three.
After the Tommies took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Blue Devils tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Jack Hemsath’s RBI double.
Stout made it 2-1 in the third inning. Jordan Wilson led off with a single, then stole second and, following an out, stole third. Wilson came home on Hemsath’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Stout added three runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of three Tommie errors. The Blue Devils closed out the day with a two-run sixth inning when Reid Akerman punched a two-run triple to centerfield.
Senior pitcher Brad Rindfleisch made his final home appearance, pitching the final inning, not allowing a hit, in part thanks to Szykowny who bare-handed a ball and recorded the second out of the inning. Rindfleisch recorded one strikeout. Logan Langbehn pitched the inning before Rindfleisch, getting all three batters.
The Tommies made an uncharacteristically high seven errors over the two games, and Stout made them pay — especially Jordan Wilson. The Blue Devil senior captain’s final two-game line did not look impressive, 1-for-7, but Wilson reached base five times, three times on infield errors to the left side and another with a walk. Wilson stole four bases, two in each game, to bring his season total to 13 and scored once in each game.
The Blue Devils outhit the Tommies in both games, 7-5 in the opener, and 12-7 in the second game.
Stout will have to wait until conference games conclude on Saturday to find out if it advances to the WIAC tournament for the first time since the 2014 season.
UW-Stout 4-2, UW-Stevens Point 2-1
At Menomonie, for the first time ever UW-Stout swept a four-game series over UW-Stevens Point, completing the four wins Monday with a 4-2, 2-1, sweep at Nelson Field.
Stout had won both games Sunday, 12-0, 5-4.
Brad Rindfleisch went the distance in game one, striking out six, walking three and scattering seven hits.
The Blue Devils scored twice in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI by Joel Thimsen and on Hunter Merrill’s fielder’s choice. The Pointers tied the score in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Gabe Affeldt. Stout took the lead when Danny Deis reached on an infield error and Kyle Hamilton scored from second. Stout added an insurance run in the eighth inning on Jordan Wilson’s RBI double.
Wilson was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI as the Pointers outhit Stout, 7-5. Thimsen, Hamilton and Caleb Hurt each had a hit.
All of the scoring in game two occurred in the first inning. The Pointers took 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Stout came back to get all they really would need in the bottom of the inning.
Wilson led off with a single, then stole second following a flyout. A wild pitch put Wilson on third. Jack Hemsath drew a walk. Kasey Bass’ single brought home Wilson to tie the score and move Hemsath to third. Following another flyout, Alex Jinkins reached on a fielder’s choice and Hemsath raced home when the throw to second base was off the mark.
UW-Stout 3-8, Northwestern (Minn.) 5-0
At St. Paul, Minn., UW-Stout closed out the 2019 softball season with a split with the University of Northwestern Monday at Reynolds Field. The Eagles won the first game 5-3, but Stout stormed back to win the second in five innings, 8-0.
The Blue Devils (19-18) fell into a 5-0 hole in game one as the Eagles (23-15) scored twice in the second and sixth innings and once in the fourth inning. Stout came storming back with a three run seventh. Two Northwestern errors to open the seventh inning gave Stout their chance. Renee Murphy and pinch hitter Melea Bruns each had an RBI, but the Blue Devils left the bases loaded.
In game two, Stout scored four runs in both the third and fourth innings and kept the Eagles off the board for an 8-run, shortened win. Kyncaide Diedrich and Jessica Daley each punched out a home run and each went 2-for-3 with three RBI to help the cause. Jenna Nyhouse was also 2-for-3 for Stout. Bruns struck out two and limited the Eagles to five hits.
The games marked the final for Blue Devil seniors Diedrich, Alicia Meyer, Katelyn Schobert and Ashley Mossuto.
UW-Stout 7-5, UW-Stevens Point 0-2
At Menomonie, UW-Stout held UW-Stevens Point scoreless for 13 consecutive innings on their way to a sweep over the Pointers, 7-0, 5-2, Sunday at Alumni Field.
Sommer Kunstmann worked six innings, sharing the shutout with Madee Kleinschmidt, who threw the final inning. Kunstmann scattered six hits, while stranding 10 Pointers and striking out two.
Stout got all the offense they would need in the first inning when they put a 5-spot on the board, keyed by Kyncaide Diedrich’s two-run home run. Alicia Meyer plated two runners with a single. Diedrich, Mary Iliopoulos and Jessica Christianson each had two hits. Diedrich finished with three RBI and Christiansen two.
In the nightcap, Melea Bruns pitched six scoreless innings, but got in trouble in the seventh inning, giving way to Kleinschmidt, who came on with the potential tying run on deck in the seventh to earn the save.
The Blue Devils scored in the first on Jessica Daley’s single, then added a run in the third on Daley’s sacrifice fly. Renee Murphy drove in a pair of runs in a three-run fifth and Iliopoulos drew a bases loaded walk for Stout final run. Iliopoulos, who last season went 8-for-9 in a doubleheader with the Pointers, was walked her last three times at bat, twice intentionally.
Haley Barnes’ RBI single in a two-run seventh gave the Pointers their first run of the day.
Daley was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Bruns was 2-for-3 in the game, including her first double of the season.