The UW-Parkside Rangers (8-15) played a double header Saturday afternoon against Great Lakes Valley Conference competitor Lewis (13-14). The Rangers played these games in front of a good turn out at a windy and cold Oberbruner Field. The crowd was treated to a Parkside sweep of the visiting Lewis Flyers.
The first game started at noon, and featured a pitchers duel between Lewis’ right hander Steve Almanza and Parkside junior lefty Alex Zarek. The Rangers’ Zarek allowed a home run by Lewis’ first basemen Tyler Newsome in the second inning, but cruised from that point on. For Lewis, Almanza was keeping the Rangers in check. He was performing well by posting six scoreless innings, but the Rangers wouldn’t let him get out of the seventh inning.
The Rangers started the seventh with a base hit by third basemen Ben Korman. After a pop out, as well as a three-pitch strikeout by Almanza, the Rangers got the rally going after a long at-bat by senior shortstop Mike Pena. Pena, who earlier this month was named GLVC Player of the Week, battled to a 3-2 count, and smashed a liner back through the middle. Next to the plate was senior Dave Watson, who watched four pitches before heading to first base.
With the bases loaded, and two outs in the seventh inning, the Flyers pulled their starter in favor of relief pitcher Drew Hicks. In his warm up, Hicks showed a blazing fastball, but a breaking ball that never found the strike zone. Sitting fastball, Parkside’s second basemen Dave Lojeski singled to centerfield, and drove in two to put the Rangers ahead.
The scoring continued in the seventh as first basemen John Hasser zipped a grounder off the mound and back through the middle, scoring Watson. With Lojeski and Hasser moving up on a throw to the plate that was late, right fielder Taylor Nehls was up with two in scoring position. Nehls pushed a slow grounder past the mound, and ran out an infield single that kept the inning alive long enough to allow an error by Lewis to provide one more Parkside run.
The Rangers, who were shut down through six, put up five runs in the seventh, all with two outs. They put one more run on the board the next inning after more fielding issues for Lewis, and, from there, the game was all Alex Zarek. Parkside’s Zarek went on to pitch a complete game six hitter, allowing two earned runs while striking out four en route to the Rangers’ 6-2 win over Lewis.
The second game of the double header was also a pitchers duel, as both starters saw their way through the seven-inning second contest. Lewis’ Joe Scumaci pitched six innings, allowed only three hits, and struck out five. The lone run of the game came off the bat of John Hasser, who scored Dave Lojeski. Lojeski singled and stole second to set the table for Hasser.
The Rangers were never in doubt with junior Jack Olsen on the mound in the second game. For a pitcher who posted a 0-11 record last year, this was a performance that spoke to his ability. He went the full seven innings, allowed three hits, walked one batter, and struck out four. While it was a shortened game, it’s still a complete game shutout. The Rangers finalized a Saturday sweep of the Lewis Flyers with a 1-0 win in game two.
To put it simply, the story for the Rangers Saturday afternoon was their pitching. They had two complete games, one of which that was a shutout. They’re set to play Lewis again Sunday afternoon in another double header, and will then hit the road to play against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their next home game will be April 2nd against the University of Missouri-St. Louis in a GLVC match up.