Lakeland rides strong pitching again in sweep
Athletics - posted on 3/15/2010
Another pair of strong pitching performances helped the Lakeland baseball team pick up a doubleheader sweep over Millikin (Ill.), 7-1 and 7-1, in two seven-inning games on Monday at the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Right-handers Mike Ruzek (Manitowoc, Wis.) and Lee Chepil (Ladysmith, Wis.) provided complete games for the Muskies, who moved to 4-0 with the back-to-back victories.
Lakeland also churned out 24 hits on the day and haven't scored fewer than seven runs in a game through four contests.
"Our coaching staff is very pleased with our all-around performance through the first four games," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "The offense is swinging well and the pitching staff is going deep into games. Defensively, we've only committed two errors and have stolen 18 bases in 19 attempts."
In the first game, Ruzek surrendered just one hit through the first six innings before allowing his first run in the bottom of the seventh. The junior, who entered the season as Lakeland's No. 1 starter, struck out seven.
"Ruzek did a great job pumping the strike zone early and often," Thousand said.
Junior second baseman Ryan Polizzi (Woodstock, Ill.) provided insurance for Ruzek with a two-out double, which plated three runs, in the top of the seventh. Polizzi was one of four Muskies with at least two hits in the game.
In Game 2, Chepil, a senior, scattered seven hits and struck out five in his first appearance of the 2010 season.
"Lee had great command of all his pitches," Thousand said. "He got ahead in the count throughout the game and kept the Millikin hitters off-balance."
Five players finished with two hits as Lakeland scored in ever inning but the fifth. Senior Jacob Heinemeyer (Shiocton, Wis.) and junior David Novak (Algoma, Wis.) batted in two runs each.
Lakeland resumes action in Florida on Tuesday against Plattsburgh St. in another twin bill. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. (EST).
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