Muskies suffer first losses of 2010
Athletics - posted on 3/16/2010
The Lakeland baseball team suffered back-to-back losses, 11-3 and 9-3, in a doubleheader against Plattsburgh St. (N.Y.) on Tuesday at the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Despite pounding out 26 hits in the two games, the Muskies (4-2 overall) stranded a combined 18 runners and suffered pitching letdowns at key moments en route to their first losses of the 2010 season.
In Game 1, Plattsburgh St. (9-1) broke the game open in the top of the ninth inning, turning a narrow 3-1 advantage into an 11-1 lead. Starting pitcher Ryan Polizzi (Woodstock, Ill.), who had held the Cardinals in check through the first eight innings of play, surrendered three straight one-out hits before being relieved by junior Jeremy Williams, who walked the first two batters he faced and was unable to recover.
Lakeland used four singles in the bottom half of the inning to score twice, but it was too little, too late.
"Ryan Polizzi pitched a heck of a game and put us in a great position to win," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "However, our production in the clutch was absent."
Five Muskies finished with at least two hits, including junior Brad Young (West Bend, Wis.), who was 3-for-4 in the game.
Sophomore Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) started Game 2 and ran into trouble in the fourth inning. After Lakeland took a 1-0 lead top half of the frame, Morris surrendered four runs with a combination of walks, hits and errors, all after getting two outs to start the inning.
The Cardinals tallied two more in the fifth and three in the sixth to take command of the contest.
"It was a new game, but it was the same story as the first game," Thousand said. "We pitched well early but lost command of the strike zone, and Plattsburgh capitalized.
"We had runners on base all day, but were unable to get the big hit."
Junior Andrew Schartner (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) produced three hits, including two doubles, to lead the Muskie offense. Freshmen Casey Fox (Germantown, Wis.), Andy Chitwood (Muscoda, Wis.) and Bruce Romagnoli (Iron Mountain, Mich.) each notched their first career hit in the game.
Lakeland continues its Florida trip Thursday with a 2 p.m. (EST) contest against Minnesota-Morris.
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