UW-Whitewater baseball sweeps UW-La Crosse for berth in Division III World Series

John Vodenlich and UW-Whitewater are back in the NCAA Division III World Series.

However, the Warhawks’ journey back to the eight-team tournament for the first time since 2016 wasn’t easy.

The Warhawks, ranked No. 5 in the latest national poll, entered Day 2 of the NCAA Super Regional on their home field needing to take two games from No. 16 UW-La Crosse.

Cade Berendt and Jack Hagen pitched complete games and the Whitewater hitters combined for 16 runs and 24 hits in an impressive sweep on Saturday.

Berendt struck out 13 and allowed just three hits in going the distance in an 8-0 victory in the opener. The senior left-hander from Germantown is 6-1 with a 3.39 earned-run average.

Seven Whitewater hitters recorded at least one RBI in the victory.

Hagen, a freshman from San Clemente, California, scattered eight hits and allowed no earned runs in an 8-2 victory in the title game. Hagen is 9-0 with a 2.60 ERA.

Junior first baseman Eli Frank and junior leftfielder Matt Scolan each had three RBI in the decisive game.

Frank hit a two-run homer to give Whitewater a 2-0 lead in the second inning and added a sacrifice fly in the third to help the Warhawks take a 4-0 lead.

Scolan hit a three-run homer in the eighth to close the scoring.

The Warhawks (40-9) on Sunday were seeded No. 3 in the eight-team field, with play set to start Friday in Eastlake, Ohio.

Whitewater opens against No. 6 Randolph-Macon (33-14) at 7 p.m. (Central).

Vodenlich has guided Whitewater to two national titles in 2005 and 2014, both times when the tournament was held in Grand Chute.

Whitewater won the WIAC regular-season and tournament titles this season and has won eight of its last nine games.

The loss was a 3-2 decision Friday in Game 1 of the Super Regional.

La Crosse, which advanced to the World Series in 2023, finished 36-16 this season. Six of those losses came against WIAC rival Whitewater.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UW-Whitewater baseball advances to Division III World Series