It may just be an unofficial exhibition game, but the Brewers sure kicked off spring right with a strong 8-0 defeat of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers at Maryvale Ballpark. Since this was not a part of 'regular' spring training games, the result will unfortunately not count towards getting the Brewers the all-important Cactus League crown.
Mike Fiers started the game for the Brewers and came out firing. Scheduled to pitch two innings, he faced the minimum of six batters and struck out four of them while also getting a popup and a ground-out that Scooter Gennett made a great play on.
A Jean Segura base on balls -- the first of a whopping eight walks for the Brewers on the day -- gave the Major League Milwaukee team their first base runner of spring, but a Carlos Gomez double play ball wiped that out immediately.
Instead, the Brewers waited until the fourth inning to score their first runs of 2015. Three straight walks to start the inning loaded the bases, though a Matt Clark grounder resulted in a 1-2-3 double play to keep any runs from scoring. With two outs, however, Khris Davis did this to plate two runs and give the Brewers the lead:
Khris Davis two-run single pic.twitter.com/zROW0iZiDA— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 4, 2015
A Juan Centeno RBI single in the sixth inning gave the Brewers two more runs as Matt Clark and Logan Schafer scored, though Centeno was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. Two more runs scored the next inning with Elian Herrera scoring Yadiel Rivera and Matt Long bringing Nevin Ashley home. Finally, an Adam Weisenberger single in the eighth inning gave Bryan Peterson the opportunity to score for the Brewers' seventh run of the day while Herrera brought home Rivera a second time for the final Brewers run.
Overall, the Brewers had 10 hits on the day to go along with the myriad of walks. There was one cool moment for UWM, though, as pitcher Joe Pavlovich tossed one inning and struck out Adam Lind, Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra in order. That's a hell of a way to make a memory for a graduate student who likely won't get an opportunity professionally.
On the pitching side for the Brewers, seven players combined to hold UWM to just one hit with 17 strikeouts. Jim Henderson, who missed almost all of 2014 due to a shoulder injury, tossed a quick frame while striking out a pair and walking one. Taylor Jungmann pitched two innings and struck out five batters, but gave up the lone Panthers hit. Corey Knebel, Brooks Hall, Taylor Williams and David Goforth all also saw action.
There isn't much we can take away from this game -- the Brewers beat a college team which, big whoop. Any major league squad can do that, right? Spring -- and especially early spring -- is all about getting back into playing shape for teams, so results aren't going to matter much.
That said, the Brewers win! And boy does it feel good to say that again.