Muskies end losing skid with split at Aurora
Athletics - posted on 4/18/2009
The Lakeland baseball team snapped a seven-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon, defeating Northern Athletics Conference power Aurora 8-7 in the second contest of a doubleheader at Aurora.
The Muskies (10-18, 5-7 NAC), who have already eclipsed last season's win total of nine, fell in the first half of the twin bill 13-5.
Sophomore catcher David Novak's 3-run homer, his third of the year, keyed a six-run second inning, giving Lakeland a 6-2 lead. Novak finished 2-for-3 in the game.
"We just waited for a pitch we could drive," Novak said. "Patience was the key for us. Hopefully we can build on this game and this can carry over for the rest of the season."
Sophomore starting pitcher Matt Katzman picked up his second victory of the season, surrendering four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work.
After 2 2/3 scoreless frames from senior Mike Phillips, sophomore Mike Ruzek entered the ninth with a runner on and picked up his first save of the season despite surrendering a 2-run homer.
"We were still up by a run, and there was nobody on," Novak said. "We still had faith in Mike. I walked out to the mound and told him he's the guy we want in there to close it out."
Novak's twin brother, Doug, added a solo shot in the eighth to give Lakeland a three-run advantage. Doug Novak posted a team-high three hits in the contest.
Lakeland coach Chris Thousand was pleased with the team's all-around effort in the road victory.
"Our pitching was good, we kept them off-balance for the most part," Thousand said. "We had some good at-bats offensively, especially on hits from David Novak and (sophomore Andrew) Schartner. Aurora is a strong-hitting, good team."
Senior Zach Hilbert, and sophomores Ryan Polizzi and Brad Young registered two hits apiece for the Muskies.
In Game 1, Aurora (19-7, 8-3) outhit the Muskies 22-8, doing much of the damage off starting pitcher Bill Miller, who took his fourth loss of the year after tossing 4 2/3 innings.
"We got manhandled in the first game," Thousand said. "They hit Billy pretty well. I thought he had good stuff today, but they hit him."
Junior Jacob Heinemeyer and sophomore Cal Post tallied a pair of hits to lead the Muskies. Polizzi and David Novak knocked in a pair of runs apiece.
Lakeland returns to action tomorrow for a home doubleheader against Concordia Chicago at 11 a.m.
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