UWM baseball notches first home victory

The UW-Milwaukee men’s baseball team has been struggling to play a home game for weeks, postponing or canceling eleven games at Henry Aaron Field. All they had to do to get a game in was play under a retractable roof.

The Panthers turned back the clock and paid homage to their heritage for today’s game at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The team assumed the identity of the Green Gulls, the nickname of Milwaukee athletics from 1927 to 1951. Players wore green throwback jerseys and hats as they hosted the Northwestern Wildcats.

Left-handed junior Tyler Thicke (0-1, 9.53 ERA) started the game for the Green Gulls. He pitched three perfect innings, facing nine batters and striking out one, in his second start and 13th appearance of the season. The Wildcats countered with lefty freshman Reed Mason (1-1, 2.45 ERA). He nearly matched Thicke’s performance, giving up just one hit in three innings of work.

The game was dominated by pitching early. Only four batters on both teams reached base before the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs in Milwaukee’s half of the fifth, sophomore outfielders Luke Meeter and Derek Peake hit back-to-back singles. Freshman catcher Mitch Ghelfi walked to load the bases for sophomore second baseman Michael Porcaro.

Northwestern head coach Paul Stevens called to the bullpen for right-handed junior Jack Livingston to face Milwaukee’s season hit leader, Porcaro. He struck out and left three men on base.

The Wildcats found themselves in trouble the next inning. The Green Gulls started the sixth with a walk, advancing on a wild pitch, and reaching on a fielding error before junior third baseman Sam Koenig doubled to break the scoreless tie.

With two men in scoring position, the Wildcats opted to intentionally walk senior shortstop Alex Erdmann to set up the double play. Northwestern’s defensive woes would continue to haunt them as one of the intentional balls slipped by the catcher, allowing a second run to score. Erdmann would later walk and steal second, while another wild pitch scored the third run of the inning. Porcaro would have another chance in a two-out bases loaded situation but grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the sixth.

The Green Gulls tacked on two runs in the bottom of the eighth on RBI singles. Northwestern threatened with a man on third in the top of the sixth but was unable to drive him in. The Wildcats only collected four hits and failed to score any runs.

Milwaukee sealed their 5-0 victory in front of 567 students, parents, alumni, and scouts. At least eight men with radar guns attended Wisconsin’s first Division 1 home game of the 2013 season. Ghelfi showed patience with three walks, Peake made contact with three hits, but at least one scout was not blown away by the team’s performance.

“I see a lot of people playing baseball but I don’t see any baseball players,” the anonymous scout said.

The scouts in attendance perked up during the top of the ninth for Joshua Uhen. That same scout said a “bunch of guys here probably want to see [Uhen].”

All eight radar guns were out for Uhen’s pitches; he hit at least 92 mph on one gun. Uhen gave up a walk and promptly induced a double play to end the game.