Due to the abundance of rain in Dubuque, the Duhawks played their most recent conference game against the Wartburg Knights in Waverly, IA. Giving up home-field advantage was a tough call as the Knights last year finished second in the D3 Central Region Power Rankings.
The Knights continue to be one of the better teams in the region and swept all three games from the Duhawks. Despite some standout moments, Loras’ record fell to 8-10 on the season.
In game one of the series, the Duhawks fell 9-4, even though a few hot-hitting Duhawks continued to frustrate opposing pitchers.
Junior Danny Weis has been lethal offensively all season, starting in all 19 games and batting at a .409 clip with an OBP of .506 to lead the Duhawks stats board. In game one he continued his strong performance, batting 3-4 with a RBI double to his credit.
Sophomore Jake Oglesby also shined, sending one over the fence during his only at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, bringing in two and the final to 9-4.
“I really just tried to step up and do what I could, and I really just got into a good feel again at the plate and just let that take over,” Oglesby said. “I was really fortunate enough to hit my first home run in college that weekend, and it was definitely a large weight off my back.”
But he was quick to add that it came in a losing effort, putting a choke hold on his celebratory mood.
“The Wartburg series was a little bittersweet for me,” Oglesby said. “I was very excited and happy with how I performed, but of course never happy with a loss, especially a sweep. As a team, we need to come together. Individual accomplishments are nice, but that are always better if they result in wins.”
Game two didn’t bode well for the Duhawks either. For the first time all season, the men failed to score a run and lost the game 10-0. Managing only two hits during the ballgame, the team was stifled by Wartburg’s pitcher Max Langheinrich who threw seven innings and struck out six Duhawks. A bright spot for the team, however, came from junior pitcher and transfer Ben Milks who threw 1.1 innings, striking out two Knights.
Trying to avoid the sweep, the Duhawks came out with a fight in game three of the series. Unfortunately, the Knights held the same mentality, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. However, picking right where he left from the first game of the series, Oglesby drove in a run with a single, scoring senior Luke Leibforth.
By the top of the fourth, the Knights eventually took a 6-1 lead, which the Duhawks cut down to four heading into the sixth inning. Sophomore standout Austin Konagel hit a two-run homer and tied the game in that inning. This was Austin’s first career home run as a member of the Duhawks. Unfortunately, the Knights overwhelmed the Duhawks and ended with a final score of 10-7.
The Duhawks hope for a turnaround during the rest of the season. They played Coe College at Petrakis Park on April 4 and will kick off their spring break a three-game series in Lincoln, NE against Prairie Wolves. The Duhawks won’t be back in Dubuque until April 21 and 22 to take on Central in a three-game home stand.