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The Lakeland College baseball team knew it had a tough test this weekend, but tough was an understatement as Northern Athletics Conference leading Aurora University swept Lakeland on Saturday afternoon.
The Muskies (1-8, 2-4 NAC) produced little offense against the Spartans, who tallied 31 hits in back-to-back routs of Lakeland.
In game one, sophomore Derek Loomans (Brandon, Wis.) got the start and got little help as errors and miscues contributed to six unearned runs. Loomans pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs, three earned, on 10 hits. Tim Green (Hager City, Wis.) pitch 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits.
The Spartans got off to a fast start as an error in the first extended the inning, allowing Aurora to total four run on four hits, taking a 4-0 lead. That would be all Drew Gay would need as the Muskies tallied just four hits in route to a 14-0 loss in seven innings.
The short-handed Muskies looked off balance all afternoon and just couldn't string together any hits.
Right-hander Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) got the ball in game two, going five innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits. Freshman Trent Schwalbach (Escanaba, Wis.) was the first out of the pen, pitching 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on three hits while walking three. Matt Weller (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) pitched 2/3 scoreless innings before Ryan Krzyzkowski (Franklin, Wis.) pitched a scoreless eighth. Freshman Cody Manders (Green Bay, Wis.) made his collegiate debut, allowing one run on two hits in the ninth inning.
Lakeland showed some promise early on after trailing 7-0, the Muskies scored three runs on three hits in the fourth inning and seemed to be poised to make a run. Sophomore Frank Pietrantonio (Kingsford, Mich.) delivered the big blow, a two RBI single scoring Nate Soley (River Falls, Wis.) and Jess Nickel (Waupun, Wis.). However, that's all the offense the Muskies could deliver in the 13-3 loss.
Lakeland tallied just three hits in game two, with Soley, Nickel and Pietrantonio each collecting one a piece.
"We have to tip our caps to the Aurora pitcher today," said Lakeland head coach Mike Bachar. "This was the best pitching we've seen this year. Hopefully it'll make use more prepared for the Cougars on Monday. We need to play our game and not worry about the other team. Today we were playing tight and we gave a good team too many outs. We need to tighten up the defense and get ready for Concordia Chicago."
Lakeland returns to action on Monday, April 9, as the Muskies travel to River Forest, Ill., to face NAC foe Concordia University Chicago. The doubleheader is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.