Bullpen holds off Yellow Jacket rally in Muskies win

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The Lakeland College baseball team got back to their winning ways on Thursday afternoon, defeating Defiance College, 8-7, in Fort Myers, Fla. The Muskies (5-1) continue to hit well and play solid defense, tallying double digit hits for the fourth time this season and they have yet to commit an error in 54 innings. Freshman Austin Pflager (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) made his collegiate debut for Lakeland, pitching three innings. He allowed two runs on two hits, while recording one strikeout. The right-hander struggled with control, but was able to avoid the big inning. Sophomore Derek Loomans pitched in relief and pitched four innings to earn the victory. The Brandon, Wis., native allowed three runs on six hits, while striking out two batters. Sophomores Ryan Krzyzkowski (Franklin, Wis.) and Ryan Boettcher (Bonduel, Wis.) each pitched one inning of relief, allowing one run and two hits each, while both recorded two strikeouts. Boettcher got his first save of the season. After trading runs in the first inning, the Muskies broke the game open with a four run second. Junior David Cherney (Green Bay, Wis.) got the inning started with a one-out double to left field and later scored on a Charlie Sparrow (Milwaukee, Wis.) single. Sparrow would steal third following a Brent Steudel (Hortonville, Wis.) single and scored on a Nate Soley (River Falls, Wis.) sacrifice fly. Senior third baseman Garrett Morris delivered the big hit, a two-run, two-out, bases loaded single, giving the Muskies a 5-1 lead. The Yellow Jackets threatened in the top of the third. Defiance loaded the bases and scored on a walk, however, Pflager was able to get a strikeout to end the inning. Defiance scored again in the fifth, cutting the Muskies lead to 5-3. Lakeland came back strong, putting up another big inning, scoring three runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 8-3. The first three batters reached to load the bases and the Muskies got another big hit, this time from Sparrow who delivered a two-run single. Soley knocked in his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cherney. The Yellow Jackets didn't back down, scoring four runs in the final three innings. Defiance had the tying run on first base in the ninth, but Boettcher forced a fly out and a strikeout to end the game. The Muskies tallied 10 hits, led by Boettcher and Sparrow with two apiece. Sparrow also added three RBI's and one run scored. Soley and Morris each added two RBI's, while Mike Ruzek (Manitowoc, Wis.) added one RBI. Lakeland returns to the field tomorrow morning, with a double-header against the State University of New York-Plattsburgh. First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. on diamond two at the Terry Park complex in Fort Myers, Fla. To see what Sparrow and Morris have to say about their contributions, click here*. To see what head coach Michael Bachar has to say about his team's success, click here*. Videos will be posted later today.