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Hitting and pitching continued to be major assets to the Lakeland College softball team as it swept Rockford College, 5-0 and 11-3, in its Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader on Sunday, April 20, at Lakeland.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Roberts put in a full day's work in the circle to pick up both wins, throwing all 12 innings played while allowing just four hits in the first game.
The Muskies (15-11, 14-4 NAC) also pushed their NAC win streak to five games and continued their dominant hitting from Saturday's games against Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Sophomore KC Blahnik led the team at the plate for the day, batting .500 overall with a pair of triples. Sophomore Chelsea Coenen also chipped in a solid effort in the batter's box, going 3-4 in the second game with a double while also adding a triple in the first game.
Senior Allison Lock, and freshmen Kayla VandeWettering and Kristine Raeder also showed power at the plate with a double apiece in the second game to help end the contest after just five innings.
"We had awesome hitting with two outs today," said Lakeland head coach Chad Buchmann. "We got our bunts down and our base running was great. It really helped us to be able to take advantage of some extra bases.
"We depend a lot on our seniors and we have high expectations for our freshmen and our sophomores, so if they are doing really well then we don't have any holes in our line-up. That was the case today."
The Muskies will now look to continue the poise they have built into this coming week's games, as they face the current top two teams in the NAC beginning with No. 1 Aurora University on Monday at home.
"Winning five in a row is certainly a confidence-booster for us, especially heading into tomorrow's big games," Blahnik said. "Playing Aurora tomorrow will really show us where we're at ranking-wise because Aurora is supposed to be No. 1 and we were supposed to be No. 2 (according to the NAC preseason coaches' poll). Next week is going to be a good test for us."
Buchmann also acknowledges the elevated importance of his team's next three games, as Lakeland will also face a tough Wisconsin Lutheran squad on Wednesday and No. 2 Benedictine University on Thursday.
"We split with Aurora and Wisconsin Lutheran last year and got swept by Benedictine, so we went 2-4," Buchmann said. "But if we can go at least 3-3 this year, that could shake some things up in the conference standings."
In order to reach that goal, the Muskies will look to continue their offensive power paired with solid defense.
"When we play good defense we win, so we're really trying to minimize our errors," Blahnik said. "If we excel on the defensive side then it seems to get us excited and we hit better. Our hitting has been coming along and we've had a different person step up at different times, which is nice because it takes the pressure off of one person."
Game start time on Monday with Aurora is set for 3 p.m.