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The Lakeland College baseball team lost both games of the doubleheader against Northern Athletics Conference foe Rockford College on Saturday afternoon.
The Muskies (16-14, 6-8 NAC) got just five hits in the two games against the Regents, losing game one 3-0 and falling in game two, 2-0.
Senior Mike Ruzek got the ball in game one and the Manitowoc, Wis., native did all he could to give Lakeland a chance to win. Ruzek pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out five with two walks. He was outdone by Rockford's Jake Nicholson who pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits, striking out 12 and walking one.
Both pitchers were dominant through six innings, as Ruzek allowed just two hits through seven innings and Nicholson had a no-hitter through five innings.
Lakeland threatened in the seventh, as Andy Chitwood (Muscoda, Wis.) led off with a double, Ruzek singled, and Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) walked to load the bases with nobody out. However, a line drive double play and a strikeout ended the inning, as the Muskies missed a major scoring opportunity.
The Regents capitalized on their scoring chance, scoring three runs on four hits in the eighth inning.
Brent Steudel (Hortonville, Wis.) had the other hit for Lakeland, as he broke up Nicholson's no-hitter in the sixth inning.
In game two, another pitcher's duel took shape, as Lakeland sophomore Derek Loomans (Brandon, Wis.) took the hill, going 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking two. Sophomore reliever Matt Weller (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) pitched a perfect 2/3 of an inning.
Rockford scored first, getting one run on two hits in the second inning and added to their lead in the fourth with one run on two hits and an error.
The Muskies failed to produce the big hit, as Ruzek was stranded on second base in the fourth after recording Lakeland's first hit of the game. The only other hit for the Muskies came in the seventh, a Morris double and he was stranded at third.
Lakeland had a chance in the ninth after back-to-back walks to Chitwood and Ruzek put runners on and a Morris sacrifice bunt gave the Muskies second and third with one out. However, a strikeout and groundout would end the threat.
The Lakeland offense continues to struggle having scored just two runs on 10 hits in their last 25 innings of play.
Lakeland hopes to right the ship tomorrow, April 22, as the Muskies return home to host the Stars of Dominican University. First pitch is scheduled for noon.