Baseball 1-5 on the week

Kyle Dallman

Lawrence hosted division leaders Ripon College April 6 for a doubleheader that raged for 21 innings and took more than a day to complete. Ripon came into the series on a roll, winning their last seven.
Game 1 featured a dominating performance from the top of Lawrence’s order. Junior leadoff man Tim O’Toole failed to reach base only once, while 2-4 hitters Brad Hauser, Andrew Wong and Kevin Fitzsimmons combined for 2 homers and 6 RBI.
But Ripon also brought their bats and got to crafty lefty Chris Clouthier early, handing him his first loss of the season. Freshman Alex Fritsch stepped in and pitched a scoreless 7th, but the Vikes couldn’t produce a rally against Ripon reliever Tyler Haddock and suffered a 9-7 defeat.
Game 1’s hitting proved contagious for both squads, as Game 2 featured much of the same. First baseman Kevin Fitzsimmons tallied a hat trick of homers and 6 RBI. Not to be outdone, junior Billy Bodle also busted out the whooping stick and drove in 4.
But for every chicken scratch the Vikes produced, Ripon answered. It seemed Lawrence had a shot when pitchers Zack Patrick-Riley and Brad Hauser kept Ripon bats silent for three innings and then took an 11-11 tie into the top of the ninth. But alas, the game was called for darkness and finished in Ripon where Lawrence lost momentum and fell 14-13 in a 14-inning battle.
Games 3 and 4 of the series were held at Ripon, where a rejuvenated Vikings pitching staff stepped in and tamed Ripon bats for much of game 1. Freshmen Franklin Forseth and Patrick-Riley combined for a pitcher’s duel with Ripon ace Jordan Baitinger that gave Vikings bats many chances to produce runs. But Baitinger was on and held the Vikes to 1 earned run despite a late rally in the sixth and seventh that made for an extremely close finish, 5-4.
The Vikings’ offense ran out of gas and sputtered in the series finale, combining for 7 hits and 1 run while Ripon did exactly the opposite. The floodgates were opened as Ripon cruised to a 9-1 victory.
On Tuesday, the Vikes ventured to UW-Stout where Lawrence hurlers rediscovered their form and Viking bats produced in the clutch. Game 1’s story was senior pitcher B.J. Chase, who tossed a gem for a Vikings squad needing a pick-me-up after the dismal series with Ripon.
Over a complete game masterpiece Chase held Stout to 8 base runners and 4 runs while fanning 6, earning the win and improving his season record to 2-0. The Viking lineup played mostly small ball in support of Chase, scoring 5 runs on just 6 hits, but 3 of those 5 came in one swing from junior Bill Bodle, who launched one with two on in the sixth to cap a 5-run rally that put the Vikes up for good.
Game 2 proved just as gripping, as the bottom of the ninth decided the final for both squads. The heart of the Lawrence order combined for all 6 runs and Bodle once again had a liftoff that was good for a trot around the bags. Stout pitchers combined continually to get themselves out of jams – allowing 13 hits but only 6 runs, whereas Stout batters produced an efficient 7 runs on 8 hits. Stout relievers managed to hold off a late Viking surge in the seventh, and the Vikes were handed a 7-6 defeat.
Lawrence next hosts UW-Whitewater in a double header Monday.

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