Errors and miscues lead to sixth straight loss

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The Lakeland College baseball team lost its sixth consecutive game on Sunday after being swept by Northern Athletics Conference foe Rockford College.

The Muskies (16-16, 6-10 NAC) continue to beat themselves and are lacking that big hit, losing game one 7-3 and game two, 11-5.

Senior right-hander Garrett Morris (2-4) was the tough luck loser in game one, as he pitched a stellar eight innings, allowing four runs, two earned. The Janesville, Wis., native allowed seven hits while striking out nine and walking one. Sophomore reliever Ryan Krzyzkowski pitched the ninth inning, allowing three runs, two earned. The Franklin, Wis., native allowed two hits while also walking two batters, one intentionally.

Lakeland had a chance to break the game open early, as the Muskies loaded the bases in the first inning with two outs, however, Andrew Tague (Racine, Wis.) couldn't deliver, grounding to third to end the threat.

The Stars scored first, getting one run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, taking a 3-0 lead. The Muskies answered back in the sixth, as Tague delivered a two-run double, scoring Ryan Boettcher (Bonduel, Wis.) and Matt Krueger (Medford, Wis.).

With Tague's double, the Muskies snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak, dating back to April 17, against St. Norbert College.

Mike Ruzek (Manitowoc, Wis.) delivered and RBI single to tie the game in the seventh, but it was short lived as the Stars scored four runs on three hits and one error in the ninth to seal the victory.

Boettcher led the offense going 3-for-4, while Ruzek finished 3-for-5 with one RBI. Just five players had a hit in game one, despite nine total hits.

In game two, junior right-hander Andy Chitwood (4-3) took the loss, as his defense let him down. The Muscoda, Wis., native allowed eight runs, just two earned, on seven hits in six innings. Junior reliever Justin Reminger (Leopolis, Wis.) pitched two innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits while freshman Trent Schwalbach (Escanaba, Wis.) pitched the ninth inning, allowing just three hits.

Dominican got off to a fast start in game two, scoring two runs on two hits and an error which kept the inning alive. The Muskies answered back though, scoring two runs on five hits in the first, as the first five batters reached base, including four consecutive hits. Ruzek and Morris each drove in a run, tying the game.

Dominican manufactured a run in the third, as a sacrifice bunt moved the runner over and a sacrifice fly scored a run. The Stars scored eight runs on seven hits and five Lakeland errors in the fifth thru eighth innings, sealing the Muskies fate.

The Muskies showed some life in the seventh, as sophomore Tim Green (Hager City, Wis.) came through with a two-run double in his first at-bat of the season. Boettcher added an RBI single to cut the deficit to four, however, the Stars two runs in the eighth was all Lakeland could take, falling 11-5.

Lakeland tallied 11 hits, as nine different players recorded a hit, led by Ruzek and Boettcher, who were the only players with two hits for the Muskies. The defense was the downfall, as Lakeland committed six errors for the second time this season.

With the two losses, the Muskies move to 5-8 when the opponent scores first and 5-8 when committing more than two errors.

Lakeland will look to snap their losing streak on Wednesday, April 25, as the Muskies host non-conference foe Carthage College in a single, nine-inning contest. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.