Nickel the hero as Muskies split with Red Hawks

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The Lakeland College baseball team split a hard fought doubleheader with nonconference foe Ripon College on Wednesday afternoon.

The Muskies (13-10) got off to a slow start, losing game one 7-0, however, game two was a different story as Lakeland put up six runs to win 6-5. The victory was Lakeland's first in 10 tries against the Red Hawks.

In game one, freshman right-hander Trent Schwalback (Escanaba, Mich.) struggled through four innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, walking four with just one strikeout. Junior reliever David Cherney (Green Bay, Wis.) kept Lakeland in the game, throwing five shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out two.

The Muskies just couldn't get the bats going against five different Ripon pitchers, tallying just four hits. Lakeland had just one runner reach second base and that was in the eighth inning thanks to back-to-back walks.

Freshman Nate Soley (River Falls, Wis.) continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 in the loss.

In game two, junior right-hander Andy Chitwood (Muscoda, Wis.) had a bounce-back performance, as he pitched five innings of no-hit ball. He finished with 5 1/3 innings pitched, allowing three runs, one earned, on two hits with three walks and one strikeout. Junior relieve Justin Reminger (Leopolis, Wis.) would record his first career victory, tossing 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

The Lakeland offense came to life in game two, scoring six runs on 11 hits. Ryan Boettcher (Bonduel, Wis.) got the scoring started with an RBI single in the third, scoring Frank Pietrantonio (Kingsford, Mich.). Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) knocked in the second run of the inning with an RBI single to left field, scoring Soley.

The Muskies added another run in the fifth on a Red Hawks error. Ripon answered, tying the game in the sixth, scoring three runs on two hits and three Lakeland errors.

Lakeland didn't back down, as Boettcher and Mike Ruzek (Manitowoc, Wis.) added back-to-back RBI singles to give Lakeland the 5-3 lead. After a two-run top of the seventh tied the game, senior Jess Nickel (Waupun, Wis.) singled in his only at-bat of the game, scoring Matt Krueger (Medford, Wis.) to give the Muskies all the runs they needed.

Soley continued his offensive onslaught, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Boettcher and Ruzek each finished 2-for-4, with Boettcher colleting two RBIs and Ruzek knocking in one. Nickel was the hero, going 1-for-1 with one RBI.

Lakeland returns to action on Saturday, April 14, as the Muskies host Wisconsin Lutheran College in a Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for Noon.

See what Chitwood, Reminger, and Nickel had to say about their performances here.

See what Lakeland head coach Michael Bachar had to say about the games here.