After coming back from a deficit, the Milwaukee baseball team just did not have enough in the tank yesterday afternoon, as they were defeated by Northern Kentucky and knocked out of the Horizon League tournament.
The Panthers were down 5-3 in the sixth inning and were able to tie it up that same frame, but were unable to keep their foot on the pedal. The Norse did not wait long to reclaim the lead, as they poured on four runs in the seventh stanza.
Head Coach Scott Doffek looked in the rearview mirror at the missed opportunities.
“That was the way things were going,” said Doffek. “If we’d score, we would give it right back. We had an opportunity to grab that momentum and to give up those runs, that was tough.”
The Panthers were able to draw first blood in the contest, thanks to a suicide squeeze by Ian Ross. Cole Heili then followed up with a rip up the middle, providing Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead. Chris Kelly then bunted home a run with two outs.
Doffek mentioned how he felt the team was comfortable with their early lead.
“I felt great with the early lead,” he said. “With the wind blowing in the way it was and Jay (Peters) on the mound, that is usually going to be a good combination. It was an extremely tight zone and he was not able to get a corner early in the game and they really took advantage of it.”
Northern Kentucky threatened in the bottom half of the second, as they got their first two men on base with nobody out. However, Peters was able to eliminate the threat by inducing an infield out, strikeout, and pop out to end the frame.
But the Norse would eventually get to the Milwaukee starter. The third inning saw them string together five unanswered runs and gain their first lead of the afternoon at 5-3.
Milwaukee would show their resilience in the top of the sixth. Strong plate discipline garnered five walks, and then bases-loaded RBI’s from Billy Quirke and Chris Kelly knotted the action back up.
That would not stop the surge of NKU’s bats. It only took four pitches in the bottom half of the inning for the Norse to reclaim the lead, as a lead-off triple followed by a single up the middle got the job done. They would not look back from that point on, as they capped off the game with a four-run seventh inning the next frame.
“They banged out 17 hits and we didn’t,” said Doffek. “Like I said, you have to give their offense a lot of credit. They were barreling everything we threw.”
For the Panthers, Chris Kelly finished 2-for-4 with two runs driven in. He was the only Panther with multiple hits. Daulton Varsho, John Boidanis, Mike Jordahl, Cole Heili, and Billy Quirke all finished with one apiece.