WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: UW-Whitewater wins baseball national title, pulls off first-ever college sports triple crown
APPLETON - UW-Whitewater has become the first school ever in any NCAA division to win its national baseball, football, and men's basketball titles in the same school year. The Warhawks won the Division III baseball crown this afternoon, 7-0 over Emory of Atlanta at Fox Cities Stadium.
Whitewater swept the national finals by going 4-0. In the title game, the Warhawks sealed their victory with five runs in the second-through-fourth innings -- plus a pair of insurance runs in the seventh. Adam Gregory drove in a pair with a single and a sacrifice fly. Starting pitcher Scott Plaza was the only Warhawk who did not get a hit. Plaza threw a seven-hit shutout, striking out nine and walking a pair. In the top of the seventh, Emory scored after a diving catch by Michael Gonzalez in center -- but the run was taken off the board after the Warhawks appealed. An umpire agreed that Jared Welch tagged up and ran from third base too early, and he was ruled out. Emory ended its season at 38-13. Whitewater ended at 44-7, with its second national baseball crown since 2005. 'Hawks' coach Jon Vodenlich recorded his 400th career win in the second game of these finals. He now has 402. Actually, Whitewater won six national championships during this past school year. The other three were in women's gymnastics, and men's-and-women's wheelchair basketball. The Warhawks also placed third this past weekend in their national women's track and softball competitions.
Matt Garza has pitched better at home than on the road for the Milwaukee Brewers -- and he hopes to continue that trend tonight, when the Crew hosts Baltimore. The right-handed Garza was Milwaukee's top free-agent acquisition this past winter, but he has struggled in the first quarter of the season. He's 2-4 with a 4.92 ERA, after giving up four runs in six-and-a-third innings in a no-decision at Atlanta last Thursday. It was the first time since 2012 that he failed to strike out more than one batter. Now, Garza will continue to settle in at Miller Park -- where he has a 29-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio and a home ERA of just over 3.50. Garza is 9-1 lifetime against Baltimore. The Orioles will send right-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the mound this evening. He's 5-2 with a 4.08 ERA. Last Thursday against Cleveland, Chen gave up more than two earned runs for the first time in five starts. He allowed five runs and eight hits in a no-decision against the Indians. The Brewers still lead the National League Central by one-and-a-half games over Saint Louis. Baltimore is third in the AL East.
Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says utility infielder Irving Falu will add a lot to his team. The former Kansas City player was called up Sunday from Triple-"A" Nashville, effectively to replace Jeff Bianchi -- who was released outright to the minors because he was out of return options. Bianchi was hitting just .145 with the Crew this season. Falu was hitting .288 at Nashville with seven stolen bases, one homer, and eight RBI's. Roenicke says he likes the fact that Falu is a switch-hitter -- and he has a strong ability to play shortstop. He played at short, second, and third for Nashville this season. Falu made his Milwaukee debut yesterday. He grounded into a game-ending double play in the Brewers' 10-inning home loss to Baltimore.
The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to get their first look at American League home run champion Chris Davis tonight, when the Crew hosts Baltimore again. Davis missed the Orioles' last two games due to the birth of his first child on Sunday. Davis led the big leagues with 53 homers a year ago, along with 138 RBI's. This year, he's been limited to 27 games due to injury. But he's gotten hot lately, batting .345 in his last eight contests with five homers and 11 RBI's. The "other" Khris Davis -- the Milwaukee outfielder who spells his first name with a "K" -- has also gotten hot lately. He fell a triple short of the cycle yesterday, but his 4-for-4 performance was wasted in a 10-inning, 7-6 loss to the O's.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers are scheduled to host Cedar Rapids in a late morning matinee. The Snappers edged the Kernels 6-5 on Memorial Day. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers ran into a heavy downpour last night at Clinton, Iowa. The Rattlers were up 2-0 going into the top of the fourth inning when play was suspended. They'll pick it up from that point late this afternoon -- and then their scheduled contest for tonight will be a seven-inning affair. Wisconsin enters the work week in sixth place among the eight teams in the Midwest League's Western Division. The Rattlers are 23-26 for the first half, ten games behind front-running Kane County. Beloit is second-to-last at 23-27, ten-and-a-half back.
One of the nation's top summer leagues for college baseball players will begin its 21st season tonight. The Northwoods League has added two new teams, for a total of 18. The new entries are the Kenosha Kingfish and Kalamazoo Growlers. Kenosha returns after being a charter member in 1994. They were known as the Kroakers back then -- and they won a Northwoods title in '95. Two seasons ago, the league got a huge boost when it added the Lakeshore Chinooks of Mequon, owned in part by Brewers' Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount. The large Milwaukee media market recognized the league's existence for the first time, and they've given it big play ever since. Wisconsin now has eight Northwoods teams -- and for the first time, all of them will not be in the same division. The Eau Claire Express moves to the North group, while the others stay in the south. The Northwoods League is especially proud of its 119 players who later went on to the Majors -- including Brewers' reliever Tom Gorzelanny, starter Jordan Zimmermann of Washington, White Sox starter Chris Sale, ex-Brewer Casey McGehee of Miami, Cardinals' reliever and Madison native Pat Neshek, and Nick Hundley -- who had the winning hit in Baltimore's Memorial Day victory over Milwaukee. Here is tonight's schedule for the Wisconsin teams -- Wisconsin Rapids hosts Kenosha. Defending league champion Madison entertains Kalamazoo. The Wisconsin Woodchucks of Wausau are at La Crosse. Eau Claire plays at Lakeshore. And Green Bay hosts Battle Creek.
The Milwaukee Bucks are starting to audition possible second-round draft candidates for next month. The Bucks earned the Number-two overall pick in last week's Draft Lottery -- but they also have the 31st, 36th, and 48th selections, all in Round 2. This morning, six players worked out for Bucks' recruiters at the Cousins Center. Senior shooting guard C.J. Wilcox of Washington and shooting guard Jabari Brown of Missouri were the highest-rated auditioners. Wilcox averaged 18 points and four rebounds a game in his final year at Washington. Brown, a junior, averaged just under 20 points and four-and-a-half boards for Mizzou. Northwestern senior Drew Crawford, son of NBA referee Danny Crawford, also worked out for the Bucks today -- along with Lamar Patterson of Pitt, Chris Crawford of Memphis, and Joe Harris of Virginia.
University of Wisconsin wrestler Connor Medbery will get a chance to make Team USA for the upcoming World Championships. The Badgers' redshirt sophomore was named as a wild-card candidate in the 275-pound weight class. He'll compete in the initial phase of the World Team Trials, to be held Friday through Sunday in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center. A selection committee chose Medbery, who started 15-0 this past season before finishing at 26-10 overall. His biggest victory was over third-ranked Bobby Telford of Iowa. Medbery went 2-2 at the recent NCAA tournament. The top performers at the world trials in Madison will compete for the U.S. at world meet in Uzbekistan September 8-14.
Milwaukee high school stand-out Arike Ogunbowale will play in her second international basketball tournament. The junior guard from Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels was one of 12 players picked for the U.S. Women's Under-17 squad. They'll compete in the World Championships from June 28th through July sixth in the Czech Republic. Ogunbowale is a two-time AP state player of the year, averaging 10 points and three rebounds for Divine Savior last season. She was among 145 players who tried out this past week for the 12 spots on Team USA. Amani Wilborn of Milwaukee Riverside and Allazia Blockton of Whitefish Bay Dominican also tried out, but did not make the squad. Ogunbowale was on the Under-16 team a year ago. Her new national group will train at Colorado Springs June 12th-through-17th. Before the world tournament begins, they'll play in an exhibition tourney in France starting June 20th.