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The Lakeland College softball team lost a tightly-contested 2-1 contest in 10 innings before suffering an 8-4 defeat to Northern Athletic Conference leader Benedictine at Memorial Park in Howards Grove.
Tied in the top of the 10th, Benedictine (29-4, 18-0)hit a sacrifice fly to center field with one out and runners on second and third to break the 1-1 deadlock. Sam Shepeck walked in the first Lakeland (19-13, 12-4) at bat in the bottom of the 10th to put the tying run on base. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and later moved to third on a wild pitch but was unable to score as the game ended with a pair of strikeouts.
The Muskies missed a chance to end the game in the bottom of the ninth after KC Blahnik reached on a bunt to second base to load the bases with no one out. After a strikeout, Lakeland nearly scored the game-winning run on a grounder to second by Jenny LaLuzerne, but the throw home to force the second out of the game narrowly beat an advancing April Schmitz. Benedictine got out of the inning in the next at bat as the Eagles got the out at third on a grounder to short.
Benedictine scored the first run of the game in the top of the sixth inning, driving in a run with a single up the middle to center field. Lakeland immediately answered in its half as Blahnik doubled to center field off the top of the wall with no one out. After advancing to third on a Chelsea Coenen bunt to second base, she reached home when LaLuzerne popped a ball down the left field line behind third base that fell in for a single.
Lakeland had an opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the seventh as Shepeck reached on an error and Heather Haeflinger was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Blahnik walked to load the bases but the Muskies were unable to bring anyone in, ending the inning on a strikeout and liner to center.
Roberts pitched her longest outing of the season, allowing nine hits and two walks along with two earned runs in 10 innings.
Brittany Adcox picked up the win for Benedictine, throwing 10 innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts as the Eagles remained undefeated in NAC play.
Benedictine jumped ahead quickly in game two, scoring four runs on four hits including a two-run home run to straightaway center field in the top half of the first.
The Muskies cut into the deficit in the bottom half of the inning as Blahnik, Coenen and LaLuzerne all singled to open the Lakeland first. Coenen scored on a Shepeck single after a double steal put her and LaLuzerne at third and second, respectively.
They were unable to keep up offensively with the Eagles as Benedictine added a run in the second and two in the third to lead 7-2. The Muskies added a single run in the third and sixth innings, but left the bases loaded for third time on the night in the bottom of the sixth while trailing by four.
Erin Henk continued to throw well for Lakeland, tossing six innings in relief. She gave up seven hits and four runs, just one earned, while walking none.
Lakeland continues NAC competition tomorrow as the Muskies host second place Aurora at 4 p.m. at Memorial Park in Howards Grove.