WHITEWATER, WI– The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team is set to return to the diamond for its first competition against an outside opponent in more than one year this Tuesday at 12:40 p.m. as it takes on Northwestern (Minn.) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Warhawks tallied a 2-1 record in three games played in Louisville, Ky., in February 2020 before the remainder of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its most recent full season (2019), UW-Whitewater finished with a 35-12 record, including a 21-3 mark in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season, after sweeping the WIAC regular season and tournament championships and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 12th consecutive year and 22nd time overall.
The Warhawks are currently ranked 16th in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 25. They were slotted fourth in Perfect Game’s NCAA Division III Preseason Top 25 and 23rd in Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason NCAA Division III Poll.
Head coach John Vodenlich is in his 18th season leading the program. He has led the Warhawks to 12 WIAC regular season championships, five conference tournament titles and 14 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including two national championships (2005, 2014) in six trips to the Division III World Series.
Following its opener, the Warhawks will begin play exclusively against WIAC opponents starting March 20. Twenty-eight of the team’s 40 games during the regular season will count in the league standings, while the other 12 will only count against the team’s overall record.
UW-W will play eight of its nine games in March at Prucha Field at Miller Stadium, including doubleheaders against UW-Stevens Point (March 20), UW-Oshkosh (March 23), Finlandia (March 27) and UW-La Crosse (March 31). The first three doubleheaders are non-conference games.
The regular season wraps up May 15 as the Warhawks host UW-Eau Claire. The WIAC Championship will take place at Miller Stadium the following week. More details on the conference tournament will be released in the coming weeks.
The NCAA Tournament begins in late May, with the Division III World Series set for June 3-9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
See below for a position-by-position look at the 2021 Warhawks.
Seven of the Warhawks’ infielders return with significant game experience.
Nick Santoro (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) was named second team All-Midwest Region by both D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association and first team All-WIAC in 2019 after batting .379 with 16 doubles, eight triples, seven home runs and 33 runs batted in. He finished among the nation’s top 10 in both triples and total bases (127). Santoro was batting .333 with three RBIs in 2020 prior to the season’s cancellation.
Connor Moroder (Pewaukee, Wis./Pewaukee) also returns as a starter, hitting .350 with seven doubles and 28 RBIs in 2019. Ben Wilkins (Sussex, Wis./Lake Country Lutheran) and Bryan Sturdevant (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) also saw significant action in 2019. Wilkins totaled 18 hits and nine RBIs in 26 games, including 21 starts, while Sturdevant recorded 15 hits and six RBIs in 22 games, including 15 as a starter. Sturdevant started all three games in 2020, while Wilkins started two.
Ryan Norton (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) started all three games at catcher in 2020 prior to the season’s cancellation, batting .375 with three RBIs. Taylor White (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) started a pair of games last spring, finishing 3-for-7 (.429) at the plate.
Norton, White and Jason Abatto (Delafield, Wis./Kettle Moraine) each appeared in at least eight contests in 2019.
Donovan Brandl (Rudolph, Wis./Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln), Ian Drays (Whitewater, Wis./Jefferson), Nick Paget (New Berlin, Wis./West), Karsen Rupnow (Ixonia, Wis./Oconomowoc), Peter Turelli (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) and Sam Vomhof (DeForest, Wis./DeForest) all saw action during the abbreviated 2020 campaign. Adam Hill (Wauwatosa, Wis./East) and David Rubin (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) were also part of the roster.
Newcomers to the infield include Tucker Criswell (Tallahassee, Fla./Lawton Chiles), a graduate transfer who was an all-conference and all-region selection at Methodist (N.C.), and freshmen Joe Gorden (Ingleside, Ill./Grant Community) and John Volkers (Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove).
Returning outfielders include Zach Campbell (Burlington, Wis./Burlington), Matt Korman (Waterford, Wis./Waterford Union) and Jacob DeMeyer (Harshaw, Wis./Rhinelander). Rupnow is also listed as an outfielder.
Korman was a starter as a freshman in 2019, batting .341 with 13 doubles and 29 RBIs without committing an error in the field. He started all three games in 2020, finishing 3-for-10 (.300) at the plate.
Campbell appeared in 24 games as a freshman in 2019, tallying five RBIs and three stolen bases.
DeMeyer made one start in left field in 2020.
Newcomers to the outfield include freshmen Eric Hughes (Janesville, Wis./Craig) and Reyshawn Sprewer (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI).
All-conference selections Westin Muir (St. Charles, Ill./North), Matt O’Sullivan (Sugar Grove, Ill./Kaneland) and Connor Spear (Highland, Ind./Mount Carmel (Ill.)) return to lead the Warhawks’ pitching staff in 2021.
Muir, a 2019 first team all-conference honoree and consensus second team All-Midwest Region pitcher, posted an 8-0 record that season with a 2.07 earned run average and 78 strikeouts over 65 1/3 innings. He was named to the NCAA Whitewater Regional All-Tournament Team with an eight-inning gem in the team’s win over North Central (Ill.).
O’Sullivan racked up a team-high 78 1/3 innings of work in 2019, finishing 7-5 with a 2.87 ERA and 80 strikeouts. The third team ABCA all-region and first team All-WIAC honoree tossed the seventh no-hitter in program history that spring. O’Sullivan was named a WIAC Kwik Trip Pitcher of the Week in 2020 following his lone appearance.
Spear made a team-high 15 appearances, including 10 in relief, during the 2019 season, tallying a 7-0 record with one save, a 1.44 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. He was named consensus second team all-region and first team All-WIAC following the breakout campaign.
Hayden Fox (Stockton, Ill./Stockton) made 14 relief appearances in 2019, finishing with 15 strikeouts and a 4.43 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.
Moroder, Brandl, Turelli, Trey Bretl (Marinette, Wis./Marinette) and Ben Muscatello (Evergreen, Colo./Evergreen) each made at least one appearance on the mound in 2020.
Newcomers to the staff include transfer Jim Jarecki (New Berlin, Wis./Marquette University HS), a senior transfer who competed at Valparaiso, Kade Lancour (Nekoosa, Wis./Nekoosa), who played at Ripon for the last two years, and freshman Nick Cairo (Kenosha, Wis./Bradford).
The following UW-Whitewater student-athletes from your coverage area are members of the 2021 Warhawk baseball team:
Zach Campbell of Burlington (Burlington High School), a junior majoring in accounting & general management.
Matt Korman of Waterford (Waterford Union High School), a junior majoring in history.
Bryan Sturdevant of Burlington (Burlington High School), a senior majoring in physical education.