Lakeland finishes strong, splits at Rockford
Athletics - posted on 4/17/2010
The Lakeland baseball team split a pair of games in a Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader at Rockford on Saturday afternoon.
The Muskies (13-11 overall, 4-6 NAC) won the second game, 11-3, after dropping the first by a 7-6 score.
In Game 2, Lakeland registered 15 hits and took a 10-1 lead after scoring eight runs in the top of the fourth inning. In the frame, the Muskies pounded out six hits and took advantage of three errors by the Regents (16-7-1, 9-3).
"We used the same approach in that inning that we were preaching all day - hitting the ball to the opposite field," said junior second baseman Ryan Polizzi, who finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the game. "That's pretty much all we did. I don't really know how else to explain it."
Sophomore Stephen Kalina (Lake Villa, Ill.) posted a pair of run-scoring hits in the fourth and finished with three hits for the contest. Senior Jacob Heinemeyer (Shiocton, Wis.) and junior Bradley Young (West Bend, Wis.) also collected three hits apiece in the game.
Freshman pitcher Andy Chitwood (Muscoda, Wis.) picked up his third win of the year, scattering nine hits over six innings of work. Sophomore reliever Erik Kozey (Medford, Wis.) picked up his first career save, recording three strikeouts in three innings.
"We did a great job of fighting back after a heart-breaker in the first game," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "We had good pitching all day and out-hit one of the top offenses in the conference."
In Game 1, the Muskies held a 6-5 advantage before falling in heartbreaking fashion as the Regents tallied a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth.
After Rockford went ahead 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Lakeland stormed back with a three-run top of the ninth to take the lead. Following a run-scoring groundout by junior David Novak (Algoma, Wis.), Young came through with a two-out, two-run double down the left field line.
A two-out single by Kyle Standridge in the bottom half won it for the Regents.
Young led the Muskie offense, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Heinemeyer, Kalina and junior Andrew Schartner (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) added two hits apiece for Lakeland.
Starting pitcher Lee Chepil (Ladysmith, Wis.) received a no-decision after pitching 7 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out nine. Schartner (1-1) took the loss in relief.
Chepil didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning, helping the Muskies stay in the game and allowing the team to nearly pull off a comeback victory.
"When Lee pitches, we feel like we we're going to win," Polizzi said. "He was pretty dominant and he threw strikes. We were one inning away from winning the game."
The Muskies recorded 13 hits in the contest and left nine men on base.
Lakeland resumes action in a home doubleheader tomorrow at 12 p.m. against Dominican.
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