Panthers avoid sweep at Rocky Top

Despite a scare thrown into them by the Tennessee Volunteers in the final innings, the Milwaukee Panthers avoided the sweep to defeat the Vols, 9-6.

Milwaukee (1-2) got 11 hits against the Tennessee (2-1) pitchers, and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the top of the fifth.  The final three runs for the Panthers came on a three-run homer by Ryan Solberg.  Solberg started the game at first base as regular Paul Hoenecke was behind the plate for the first time this season, giving a rest to Drew Pearson.

The Panthers hung on to beat the Vols, 9-6 and get to 1-2 on the year.

Starting pitcher Jordan Guth pitched very well early on, keeping the Vols off the board through four.  Tennessee finally got to him in the fifth and scored four runs off of him before coach Scott Doffek pulled him for Greg Blohowiak.

Blohowiak dropped the final hitter of the inning before going off on a tear in the sixth and seventh, keeping the Vols off of home plate.

When he was replaced by Kyle Spurley in the eighth, the junior righthander had trouble.  Spurley gave up a two-run single to Josh Liles, plating Davis Morgan and Andrew Toles.  Doffek’s hook was quicker, and the Panthers brought in their closer.

Cuyler Franzke needed only one pitch to end the eighth, and although three of the four batters in the ninth reached base for the Vols, Franzke got the outs and recorded the first save of the year for Milwaukee.

Pitcher of the Game – Greg Blohowiak, RP. The junior righthanded went 2 and 2/3 for Milwaukee, giving up hits to only two of the 12 batters he faced.  Blohowiak also hit two batsmen, which is awesome when you don’t give up runs. Just kidding.

Batter of the Game – Paul Hoenecke, C. Starting at catcher instead of his usual first base, Hoenecke only had one RBI.  However, he did go 2 for 3 with a double and two walks.  Hoenecke also scored a run and stole a base for the Panthers, who leave Tennessee with good feelings.

Head coach Scott Doffek has five days to prepare the Panthers for Austin Peay and Illinois State

Up Next: The Panthers travel to Clarksville, Tennessee next weekend to take part of the Austin Peay Classic at Austin Peay State University’s Raymond C. Hand Park.  Also taking part is Illinois State, who just renovated Duffy Bass Field.

The Austin Peay Governors are 3-0 after dropping Milwaukee’s Horizon League brethren Valparaiso in a three-game set this weekend.  The Governors will play two games against Milwaukee on Saturday and Sunday.  Austin Peay will likely trot out #2 starter Jack Snodgrass on Saturday, who gave up one earned run in four innings pitched.  On Sunday they will likely put Alex Belew on the mound.  Belew gave up three runs in the first inning today against Valpo before settling down and pitching five innings.

Illinois State is 2-2 after a four-game set with Belmont to open the season.  They won the opener 9-4 on Friday in a game shortened by rain to eight innings.  Corey Maines, the ISU opening day starter, went four innings and posted a 2.25 WHIP in his first outing of the year.

Milwaukee will once again likely go to the Pierce-Sukowaty-Guth connection, but we’ll have the fourth starter later in the week when we preview the series.

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