Ruzek tosses gem as Muskies split with CUC
Athletics - posted on 4/19/2009
SHEBOYGAN - If throwing a 158-pitch complete game isn't enough, how about doing it less than 24 hours after picking up a 29-pitch save in a one-run ball game?
Sophomore Mike Ruzek, the ace of the Lakeland baseball pitching staff, proved it could be done with an outstanding effort on Sunday afternoon in a 6-1 victory over Concordia Chicago in the second game of a Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader at Lakeland.
One day after saving an 8-7 victory the second game of a doubleheader at Aurora, Ruzek threw all nine innings for Lakeland, surrendering just one run on three hits and six walks, while striking out seven.
"My arm feels pretty good, but that probably won't be the case tomorrow," Ruzek said with a laugh. "Because I pitched yesterday, I really had to locate the first time through the order until my arm loosened up. I generated a little more movement, and then threw harder as the game went on."
Ruzek's gem helped the Muskies (11-19, 6-8 NAC) salvage a split against the Cougars after dropping Game 1 by a score of 14-1 in seven innings.
Ruzek, a Manitowoc native, was backed by a solid defensive effort, as the Muskies played error-free ball behind the right hander and made several highlight-reel plays along the way.
"Everyone did a great job," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "Our defense really gets up when Ruzek throws. It helps when he throws off-speed stuff as well."
Offensively, the Muskies churned out nine hits, scoring in the bottom of the first to give Ruzek an early lead.
Sophomore shortstop Brad Young posted a pair of two-out, run-scoring hits in the first and third innings to help the Muskies take a 5-0 advantage through four.
"Any time the offense puts up runs it helps," Ruzek said. "Our hitters made adjustments as the second game went on. They were great today."
Andrew Schartner also chipped in with two hits, a run scored and an RBI.
After the game, players and coaches agreed that the day belonged to Ruzek.
"He's our best pitcher, everyone on our team knows it," Thousand said. "He had to prepare very quickly between yesterday's game and today's, but he has the work ethic for it. He located well and mixed up his speeds."
In Game 1, Lakeland compiled only two hits while committing three errors defensively.
"In the first game, we didn't make enough adjustments at the plate," Thousand said. "We told our guys after the game that we have to score, even if we have to scratch and claw for every run. It helps when you have good pitching and defense, too."
Concordia Chicago (20-12, 9-3) broke the contest open early, scoring in each of the first three frames off Lakeland starter Lee Chepil taking a 7-0 lead through three innings.
Chepil, a junior, took his third loss of the year, tossing 6 2/3 innings.
Junior Jacob Heinemeyer and freshman Mike Huber posted the lone hits in the game for the Muskies.
Lakeland returns to action this Tuesday, April 21, for a doubleheader at Carthage. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Kenosha.
The Muskies were defeated by the Red Men 13-2 back on March 15 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
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