Baseball has disappointing weekend

Zach Patrick-Riley

This past weekend was not the greatest time for the Lawrence University baseball team, but they still played very well. The weekend featured an intense conference series between our home Lawrence Vikings and the visiting St. Norbert College Green Knights.
The series against St. Norbert was somewhat rough, with the Vikings losing their 8-6 lead in the eighth inning to a couple of lucky Norbert runners getting on base and then a home run that the wind caught and barely pushed over the fence.
St. Norbert then added two more runs to make it 11-8. In the bottom of the ninth the Vikings battled back hard with a home run smash by sophomore Hawk Haiduke, making the score 11-10.
But with runners in scoring position and the game up for grabs, instead of pushing Matt Frelich’s long fly ball over the fence, the wind caught and blew it down, ending the comeback.
In the second game, there were pings coming from the metal bats of both teams.
The Vikings came out strong with home runs in the first running by Tim O’Toole and Ben Webster, but St. Norbert responded with good pitching and hitting for the rest of the game, and quieted the early game surge of the Vikes to take the game.
In the series, Josh Richie was the losing pitcher in game one and Brad Hauser took the loss in game two. However, they each did a good job of consistently throwing strikes and getting the batter to hit the ball weakly, albeit into lucky gaps or holes between the fielders.
This past Tuesday, the Vikings finished a conference game with Beloit that was postponed a couple of weeks ago due to snow. The Vikings took game one with great defense and good hitting by Evan Neuens and Ben Webster.
The Vikings also had solid pitching throughout the game from Hauser, Alex Fritsch and Kostreva. Freshman Luke Kostreva had an amazing breakthrough pitching performance against Beloit, coming into clutch relief and pitching 1 1/3 innings in the first game to hold on to a one-run lead for Lawrence and attain the victory.
Kostreva apparently still had a lot of gas left in the tank, because he went all nine innings in the second game, allowing only 10 hits, no walks, and having two strikeouts.
“I don’t know where those last two innings came from, I guess as a pitcher you sometimes just have your days,” Kostreva said of his brilliant day. It definitely was his day, but he also gave well-deserved credit to the rest of the team.
“It also helped that I had strong confidence in my defense and offense backing me up,” said Luke when asked about the games.
Hawk Haiduke commented on Kostreva’s performance, stating, “His curveball was nasty. The break on it was unbelievable. He was so on.”
In game two, St. Norbert took an early lead. The whole game was neck and neck with each team’s pitcher being on and keeping the offenses in check.
Lawrence gave a very valiant offensive push in the last innings, led by Haiduke, O’Toole, Webster and Hauser, but in the end when the table was set and ready to be cleared, the Vikings came up just short. The final score of both games ended up being 4-3, with Lawrence winning the first game and barely losing the second.
Overall, the Vikings seem to be progressing and figuring out what they need to get done. The team’s pitching is definitely on a strong upward slant. Now there just needs to be some timing with those huge home run bombs we are hitting or the big strikeout.
“We just need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot; we’ve got the talent and the potential,” said an optimistic Haiduke.
The statistics and watching the Vikes play would support Haiduke’s assessment. If the Vikings play like they can, and put their own guns on safety and their bats and pitching on rapid fire like they have been, then this next weekend when the Vikings take on a series against Ripon, let’s just say, the Ripon pitching staff will see hotshot hits being banged all across the diamond.