It was a beautiful day for baseball on Saturday afternoon. With sunny skies and a slight breeze blowing out to dead center, conditions were perfect for a non-conference matchup between Blackburn College and Northland College. Northland escaped the snowy conditions of northern Wisconsin and traveled nine hours for a double header.
In the opening game, the Beavers found themselves behind early after Northland scored two runs in the top half of the first inning. Northland would extend their lead to 4-0 in the following inning off of two singles that followed two stolen bases.
But Blackburn would chip into the lead in the bottom of the second when Sophomore Walter Jarvis singled on a line drive to center that would score senior Aaron Moody. Later on in the inning, Brock Hill scored on a passed ball.
Then in the fifth inning, the Beavers took the lead when they loaded the bases with nobody out. Then, senior Matt Mokriakow singled to center field to score two runs. The two RBI’s made Mokriakow Blackburn College’s all-time leader in RBI’s. The Beavers capped off the inning with a two-run single from junior Joey Szerletich.
Blackburn was then down to needing only three outs to seal game one as they entered the top of the seventh. After a leadoff double, Northland grounded out to move the runner to third, who eventually scored on an error. Now with the tying run on first, the pressure raised on Blackburn. Sophomore reliever Dillon Hensley answered the pressure by inducing the game ending double play, giving the Beavers game one 6-5.
Tyler Morgan picked up the win for Blackburn after tossing six innings giving up one earned run on seven hits. Leading hitters for Blackburn were Mokriakow who went 1-4 with two RBI’s and Szerletich who was 1-2 with two RBI’s.
The second game started off very similar to game one. Northland jumped ahead to another 4-0 lead after scoring one run in the first on a passed ball, and three runs in the second off of three hits and an error. Northland tallied one more run in the top of the third to move ahead 5-0.
Blackburn scratched away in the bottom of the third when sophomore Shane Lewis doubled and eventually moved to third on a passed ball. All-time RBI king Mokriakow stepped to the dish to drive in another run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Northland answered with a solo shot to leadoff the fourth inning.
The Beavers threatened in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Brandon Smith started the rally with a walk followed by stealing second base. Shane Lewis then singled to put runners on first and third. Senior Jared Jones drew the walk to bring up Mokriakow, who yet again drove in another with a sac fly. Aaron Moody drew the walk to load the bases up for senior Brock Hill, who scored Shane Lewis with a sac fly to center.
But Northland’s hot bats could not be silenced as they scored two more runs in the top of the sixth to make it an 8-3 ballgame.
The Beavers, however, would not roll over, answering back with another run when Jared Jones singled to score Brandon Smith.
Yet in the top of the seventh, Northland homered again to put the lead at 9-4.
Refusing to quit, the Beavers attempted another rally in the bottom half of the seventh. Moody lead things off with a single, followed by Brock Hill reaching on an error. One passed ball later, Blackburn had runners on second and third with one out, and junior Parker Ramaker at the dish. Ramaker flew out to left, thus scoring Moody and closing the gap 9-5. Unfortunately that would be the final strike from Blackburn, who fell 9-5.
Shane Lewis lead the Beavers at the plate going 2-3 and scoring two runs, while Matt Mokriakow went 0-2, but still drove in two runs.
The Beavers are now 4-2 in their last six games and will play a non-conference game at home on Tuesday March, 29th against Millikin.
STORY COURTESY OF BLACKBURN COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE