Red Hawks sweep Vikings on diamond

Jon Mays

The Lawrence University baseball team lost a pair of games at Ripon College last weekend. After putting up little resistance in the opener, the Vikings battled back in the second game and forced extra innings, creating several opportunities to win the game but falling short in the 12th inning.
In the opener, the Vikings faced a dominant performance from Red Hawks pitcher Jason Wierschke, who allowed only five hits over seven innings and recorded a shutout. Wierschke also added four strikeouts. Ripon’s offense gave Wierschke plenty of support, scoring 11 runs.
Freshman standout A.J. Nathan and junior captain Rob Rashid were the lone bright spots for an otherwise struggling Vikings lineup. Nathan went 2-for-3, and Rashid went 1-for-1 with two walks.
In the nightcap, the Vikings’ bats came alive and they had many chances to pull out a victory. However, Ripon’s hitters matched Lawrence’s effort.
The teams combined for 40 hits and 35 runs in the game. The game looked like another rout for the Red Hawks early as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the Vikings fought back, tying the game at 10 after the top of the sixth inning.
Ripon then retook the lead, jumping out 15-10, but Lawrence again would overcome the deficit. The Vikings made their big rally in the ninth inning, scoring seven times to take a 17-15 lead.
Rashid came up big again, adding an RBI single in the ninth inning. Freshmen Phil Wisniewski and Tyler Christ also played huge parts in the rally, adding a three-run double and a run-scoring double respectively. Wisniewski had four RBIs in the game, while Christ went 4-for-6.
The Vikings, however, could not hold onto the lead in the bottom of the ninth. Aided by an error and two bunt singles, Ripon scored two runs to tie the game and force extra innings.
Neither team scored in the tenth inning. In the bottom of the 11th inning the Red Hawks won on a controversial play.
Ripon center fielder Bryant Bullock hit a ball down the left field line that ended up underneath the bench in the Red Hawks bullpen. Lawrence left fielder Mike Baldino had trouble finding the ball, and Bullock rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run that ended the game.
Despite the loss, Rashid was proud of the way his team played, saying, “After losing the first game the way we did and then falling behind by seven runs, it takes a lot of heart to battle back the way we did. It’s too bad to lose the like this, but we will take a lot away from this game.”
The Vikings face St. Norbert College this weekend in a home-and-home series. The home portion for the Vikings will be held at Fox Cities Stadium at 4 p.m.