Lakeland suffers first, second road setbacks at Ripon
Athletics - posted on 4/15/2009
The Lakeland baseball team lost on the road for the first time all season, suffering back-to-back defeats, 10-9 and 4-0, against Ripon in a non-conference doubleheader at Ripon.
The Muskies (9-17, 4-6 Northern Athletics Conference) fall to 6-2 in true road contests this season and have now lost six straight.
While the team collected over 20 hits in the doubleheader, it also left over 20 men on base.
"We were a hit away from winning both games," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "We just had a couple of little mistakes."
Lakeland staged a rally in the top of the ninth inning of Game 1, leaving the tying run in scoring position to end the game.
After a double by sophomore right fielder Andrew Schartner brought one run in, sophomore catcher David Novak brought the Muskies within one on a sacrifice fly. However, junior third baseman Doug Novak, who reached base three times during the game, struck out looking with Schartner on second.
Ripon (11-11) scored three in the bottom of the first to take an early lead, and held a 10-5 advantage through seven innings.
The Muskies racked up 18 hits to the Red Hawks' 12, but left a dozen men on base and at least one in seven different innings.
Starting pitcher Jake Van Camp suffered his third loss of the season, surrendering 10 runs (seven earned) in five innings of work. Sophomore Mike Ruzek entered the game in relief, tossing three scoreless frames.
Offensively, the Muskies were led by sophomore second baseman Ryan Polizzi, who was 4-for-5 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Ruzek and junior centerfielder Jacob Heinemeyer posted three hits apiece for Lakeland.
In Game 2, Lakeland again struggled with men on base, leaving nine on the base paths despite registering 10 hits in the contest.
The Muskies left the bases loaded in the eighth inning. After back-to-back strikeouts to begin the frame, David and Doug Novak notched consecutive hits and advanced after Heinemeyer reached on an error. Schartner flew out to left, however, to end the inning.
After holding a 2-0 advantage for most of the game, Ripon tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth off junior right-hander Lee Chepil, who came on in relief of starter Mike Phillips.
Lakeland was unable to get anything going against Ripon starter Matt Dwyer, who tossed a complete-game shutout and struck out nine Muskie hitters.
Thousand was satisfied with the way the team put itself in a position to win, but not with the result.
"Our defense was really good, and (Ripon's) coach actually commented to me after the game on that," Thousand said. "Our pitching was also good. We put ourselves in position to win, but we just couldn't close it out."
Lakeland resumes league play this Saturday in a doubleheader at Aurora. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. in Aurora, Ill.
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