Men’s baseball goes .500 over four game weekend

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

The men’s baseball team had a disappointing showing against MSOE on Sunday, April 11, losing 8-1 and 9-8 in a doubleheader at Muskie Field.

An adjusted Muskie lineup almost completed a stunning comeback in the second game. Down 7-1 after the sixth inning, Lakeland rallied to score seven runs in the final three innings, including 2 in the ninth, to tie the game 8-8.

However, MSOE hit an RBI single off junior reliever Jeremy Williams in the tenth inning to grab the lead for good.

Winning 7-6 going into the ninth, MSOE batter Emery Hull blasted a controversial home run over the left field fence that many Lakeland players felt was foul.

“It was just so frustrating because the ball was hit so high that it is such a tough judgment call for anyone to make,” Lakeland baseball coach Chris Thousand said of the home run.

Despite posting 15 hits in the game, the Muskies stranded 17 men on base, one in every inning but the third.

Lakeland nearly won in the ninth but, after scoring on runs on consecutive two-out singles, sophomore Stephen Kalina flew out to right with the bases loaded.

Lakeland drew within a run of the Raiders in the eighth inning following two-out hits by senior Doug Novak, and juniors Cal Post and Brad Young.

Doug Novak and Post led the Muskies with three hits apiece, while starting pitcher Garrett Morris allowed four earned runs in six innings.

In Game 1, seven walks by the Lakeland pitching staff helped MSOE to seven unanswered runs.

Lakeland’s lone run came in the first inning when senior Jake Heinemeyer scored on a groundout from junior David Novak. Lakeland recorded just five hits in the contest.

On Saturday, April 10, Lakeland used two shutdown pitching performances from senior Lee Chepil and junior Matt Katzman to sweep Benedictine.

Chepil starred in Game 1 for the Muskies, allowing only five hits and striking out a career high ten batters en route to his second complete game shutout of the season.

Holding on to a 1-0 lead after five innings, Lakeland scored three runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a Young RBI single and a two-run homer by Doug Novak.

Sophomore Mike Huber’s three-run single to center field in the eighth capped off Lakeland’s shutout.

Doug Novak finished three-for-five with two runs scored and two RBIs. He also had three hits, while Post and Young put in two hits and an RBI each.

In the second game, Katzman went seven innings before being relieved by junior Andrew Schartner. Katzman earned his third win of the year and Schartner his first save by combining to allow only four hits. Thousand talked about the starting pitchers against Benedictine.

“Chepil did a great job of getting ahead of hitters and making them hit tough pitches. It was a very dominating performance by both pitchers,” Thousand said. “Our defense allowed for some mistakes in the second game, but also made some very big double plays to end their rallies.”

Doug Novak singled in a run and scored on a wild pitch to give Lakeland a 2-0 advantage in the second inning. Post added an insurance run in the sixth inning with his team-leading third dinger of the season. Thousand thought his team had a good offensive day.

“In the first game we hit Benedictine’s number one pitcher pretty well. We had a good approach at the plate, and the hitters did a good job of producing runs. We had more chances to score runs in the second game, but had just enough to get the win,” Thousand said.

Lakeland split a non-conference game with Cardinal Stritch on Tuesday, April 13, and will play Rockford on Saturday, April 17 in Illinois.