FOND DU LAC - Marian University baseball (23-13, 12-10 NACC) reclaimed the Battle of Highway 23 sweeping Ripon with final scores of 9-2 and 7-5.
One big inning proved to be the difference in the opener of the non-conference doubleheader. The Sabres opened the scoring with an RBI double from sophomore Josh Gates only to have the Red Hawks plate a run in the third and fourth to take a 2-1 lead.
Marian then scored eight runs in the fourth inning to take the lead and break the game open. Senior Travis Slywka opened the scoring with an RBI single, which was followed by a two-RBI double from junior Nick Bastien. Sophomore Sean Meyer had an RBI double before senior Matt Nordlund provided an exclamation point with a bases-clearing double to put Marian ahead 8-2. Gates closed out the inning bringing in Nordlund with a single.
From there, pitching dominated as neither team was able to plate a run leading to the 9-2 final. Sophomore Jonah Landowski (2-1) went 6.0 innings allowing one earned run to earn the win, while the Marian bullpen tossed the final 3.0 innings allowing just one hit.
Offensively, Sean Meyer had another big game going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one driven in. Nordlund also had a strong game finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three driven in.
The second game saw a lot of consistent offense but neither team was able to put together a crooked number. Junior Jake Arens opened the scoring in the first inning before a bases-loaded walk from Meyer and RBI single from sophomore Nick Dugandzic put Marian ahead 3-0 after three.
Ripon managed to cut the deficit down to one with a run in the fourth and fifth. The Sabres responded using a sacrifice fly from Landowski and double from Arens to go ahead 5-2. The Red Hawks were able to respond once again plating a pair of runs in the seventh to cut their deficit down to one.
The two squads traded runs in the seventh with junior Aaron Schauer driving in a run before a botched first-and-third play in the eighth allowed the Sabres to extend their lead to 7-5. Ripon would put the tying run on base but a double play closed out the sweep for Marian.
The top four hitters in the Marian lineup went 11-for-17 (.647) highlighted by three-hit games from Arens and Dugandzic. Meyer was also able to push his multi-hit streak to six games with a 2-for-4 game.
Marian opens the NACC tournament Thursday, May 9 taking on host Concordia Wisconsin at 1 p.m. from Kapco Park.