It was not until the third inning that Ripon College head baseball coach Eric Cruise sensed that Marshall Zahn was on top of his game.
From there, it was bad news for anyone in a Lawrence uniform.
After struggling a bit with his command early, Zahn struck out a school-record 15 batters in the first game of a home twin bill Sunday.
Ripon won the contest 9-1.
“He was throwing hard and the curveball was great ...,” Cruise said of Zahn. “If you are 0-1, 0-2 on every hitter, they all of sudden become defensive swingers and you saw that all game. But it did not really settle in to how dialed in he was until probably the third inning.”
The previous school record for strikeouts in a game was 14, set in 2008 by Adam Linsmeyer. The 15 strikeouts also are only four shy of the Midwest Conference record.
“It is extremely impressive,” Cruise said of Zahn’s accomplishment. “Linsmeyer’s record was in seven innings, so that is two strikeouts an inning. And Marsh[all] had 14 after seven ... I think there was a point where Marshall struck out six-straight guys. That is no-hitter, perfect-game type of stuff. He gave up that little seeing-eye single in the first inning so you knew that was gone, but he started to show that in that St. Norbert game.”
Zahn’s performance highlighted a series of well-pitched games over the weekend against Lawrence.
The Red Hawks (10-2 conference, 17-11 overall) received a pair of complete-game outings by Patrick Van Daalwyk and Tom Fish last week Saturday and another strong showing by freshman Matt Hecht in the second game Sunday.
Van Daalwyk allowed just four hits while striking out six. Fish gave up three runs on six hits. And Hecht held the Vikings (2-7 conference, 5-21 overall) to just three hits in five innings on the mound.
Ripon won all four games, the first two which took place in Appleton. Final scores were 12-0 (seven innings), 5-3, 9-1 and 13-1 (seven innings).
Read the full story in the May 1, 2014 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.