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The Lakeland College softball team struggled in the opener of a Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader, falling 7-1 before falling short with a seventh inning comeback attempt in game two as it suffered a 7-5 loss at Memorial Park in Howards Grove.
Lakeland (19-15, 12-6) starter Erin Henk kept Aurora (27-6, 17-1) off the scoreboard through the first three innings before allowing a deep home run to center field by Brooke Spencer as the Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
They added to their lead in the fifth, scoring four runs on four hits, including three that came off of a Maggie Cooper homer to left field as Aurora jumped ahead to a 5-0 lead.
The Muskies scored its lone run of game one when Jenny LaLuzerne led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a line drive down the fight field line. The ball rattled around the right field corner to allow LaLuzerne to reach third and record her third triple of the season. She came in to score two batters later on a sacrifice bunt from Sam Shepeck.
Aurora built its lead in game two in the opening inning, scoring all three of its runs on a double to center field to take a 3-0 lead.
After the Spartans added two more in the top of the third, Lakeland countered with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Heather Haeflinger came in from second to score with two outs on a single from Blahnik for the first run of the inning. After Chelsea Coenen walked and LaLuzerne was hit by a pitch, Sara Roberts drove a pitch to right field that scored two and cut the Aurora lead to 5-3.
Trailing 7-3 after Aurora responded with a pair of runs in the fifth inning, the Muskies threatened in the bottom of the seventh as Haeflinger and Blahnik each singled with one out. Coenen proceeded to drive the pair in with a double deep to left field to cut the Spartan advantage to two, but a ground out to second and strikeout left her stranded at second to end the game.
Aurora starter Anna Snyder picked up the victory in both games, tossing all 14 innings and tallying 22 strikeouts on the night.The Muskies will look to get back on track tomorrow as they host Alverno in a NAC doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.