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The Lakeland College baseball team split their Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader against Concordia University Chicago on Monday.
The Muskies (12-9, 3-5 NAC) took the opener 10-2, before dropping game two 18-3 in seven innings.
Lakeland got on the board early, scoring three runs in the first inning, which is all the support senior right-hander Mike Ruzek needed. The Manitowoc, Wis., native pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs, one earned, on eight hits. He struck out three and walked one to earn his third victory.
Ruzek helped his own cause, as he hit his second home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first inning, scoring Nate Soley (River Falls, Wis.) and Andy Chitwood (Muscoda, Wis.). The Cougars would score single runs in the first and the third innings, but that's all they got off Ruzek.
The Muskies meanwhile broke out in the seventh, scoring six runs on five hits with Chitwood and Ryan Boettcher (Bonduel, Wis.) each knocking in two runs. Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) and Charlie Sparrow (Milwaukee, Wis.) each knocked in a run to give Lakeland the 9-2 lead. Brent Steudel (Hortonville, Wis.) added an RBI groundout in the ninth, giving the Muskies the 10-2 victory.
Soley led the offensive charge finishing 4-for-6 with two runs scored, while Ruzek was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Chitwood also had a stellar game at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Game two was a start to forget for Chitwood, who allowed 10 runs, nine earned, on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings. Three relievers combined to allow eight runs, seven earned, on 13 hits while recording four strikeouts.
The Muskies bats weren't enough, scoring three runs on seven hits, while the defense also committed five errors.
The trouble began in the first as the Cougars scored six runs on four hits and two errors, with Anthony Even hitting a three-run home run and Shawn Miller following with a three-run triple. After a 1-2-3 second for the Muskies, Concordia Chicago piled on, scoring nine runs on nine hits, with three more home runs, two by Nick Skala.
The Muskies got one back in the third on a Morris RBI single, scoring Boettcher, but Lakeland left runners at the corners, unable to get the big hit. The Cougars added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take an 18-1 lead.
Lakeland got two runs on one hit and two errors in the sixth inning. RBIs by Frank Pietrantonio (Kingsford, Mich.) and Boettcher were the highlights of the inning; however, the Cougars offense was too much to overcome.
Ruzek continued his hot hitting, finishing 2-for-2 with two walks in the second game. Boettcher finished 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
Lakeland ventures outside of the NAC on Wednesday, April 11, as the Muskies host Ripon College in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.