Home field disadvantage

Andy York

The Lawrence University baseball team played four games last weekend against Carroll College. They played a double header at Carroll on Friday afternoon, and Carroll came north to play the Vikings in a double header at Whiting Field on Saturday afternoon. As it turned out, the road team won every game.The Vikings swept Carroll on Friday 8-4 and 7-3. In the first game, the Vikings jumped out to the early lead. They took advantage of two Carroll errors and lead 2-0 after the first inning. The Vikings added three more runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. The Vikings used their speed advantage on the base paths, picking up an extra base whenever possible. Carroll stormed back with four runs in the third inning, and the game stayed at 5-4 until the sixth. In the sixth inning, junior left fielder Ryan Zutter hit a three run home run and kept the Vikings ahead for good at 8-4. Zutter was 3-4 in the game with a double and his home run. Freshman Anthony Kouba pitched all seven innings for his second victory of the year. He struck out five batters on his way to becoming 2-1 on the season.

In the second game, Lawrence was down 3-2 going into the top of the eighth inning. Senior center fielder Matt Smith came up with two men on base and hit a bases-clearing triple to put the Vikings in the lead for good. The Vikings added two more runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth inning to gain a 7-3 victory. Junior shortstop Jeremy Tollefson was 4-5 in the game with a double and a home run. Sophomore R.J. Rosenthal came into the game in the fifth inning to relieve freshman Allen Servais and picked up the victory. He pitched the rest of the game, giving up only two hits. He increased his record to 2-1 on the season.

On Saturday, the Vikings did not fair so well against the Pioneers. They lost with scores of 10-6 and 12-6. In the first game, Carroll jumped ahead of Lawrence by scoring five runs in the first inning. Junior center fielder Joel Meier hit his third home run of the season off of LU senior pitcher Rick Herzog in the first inning to put Carroll ahead. The Vikings stormed back making it 5-4 after two innings, but just like the first game at Carroll, the road team was defiant. Herzog was tagged for three more runs in the fifth inning, and that was enough to put Carroll in the lead permanently. The Pioneers won 10-6. Herzog gave up eight runs in four and two thirds innings pitched, but only four of the runs were earned. He dropped to 0-2 for the year. The Vikings made three errors in the field, which aided the Carroll hitters.

In the second game, errors hurt the Vikings again. Carroll scored all its runs in the first three innings as Lawrence junior pitcher Justin Anthony was roughed up. The Vikings did not give Anthony any support in the field as they committed six errors in the game. Anthony lasted only two and one third innings, as the Vikings lost to the Pioneers 12-6. Anthony fell to 0-2 on the year. One positive out of this game was Lawrence’s relief pitching. Freshman Ethan Denault pitched five and two third innings of scoreless relief for the Vikings. The Vikings will host to Lakeland College on Sunday afternoon at noon.

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