The Ripon College baseball team was tested at times by Lawrence last weekend, but was able to sweep the four-game series.
It won the first and third games by a run apiece — 1-0 in 11 innings and 5-4 — and was victorious in games two and four 12-0 in seven innings and 14-3 in nine.
With the wins, the Red Hawks are a victory away from clinching their third-straight Midwest Conference Tournament berth.
“I thought [Lawrence] competed well,” said Ripon assistant coach Mac Shumann, who was filling in for head coach Eric Cruise after Cruise was put on administrative leave. “They’ve got some talented young kids and, I thought, they battled like crazy. We did the same.”
The first game was the most competitive as neither team scored in the first 10 innings of the contest.
It wasn’t until Ripon-native Michael Polcyn tripled down the right-field line to begin the bottom of the 11th inning and scored a batter later on Nick Schmitt’s single that the Red Hawks (10-2 conference, 15-12 overall) won the game.
Lawrence (2-14 conference, 10-21 overall) had a chance to take the lead in the top half of the inning as it had runners on first and third base with one out, but Michael Anderson came on in relief and induced an inning-ending double play.
A large reason Ripon was able to stay in the game was its pitching, which was a theme the whole series.
Patrick Van Daalwyk pitched 10 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in game one, scattering just seven hits.
His performance was followed up by a one-hit, complete-game shutout by fellow senior Marshall Zahn in the second game.
The only hit came with one out in the seventh inning, after the umpired ruled a third strike was fouled to give the batter another chance.
Read the full story, which incluedes information on a great offensive week by Ripon native Michael Polcyn, in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.