Nick Taranto fields a throw in the fourth and final game of a four-game series against St. Norbert as a Green Knight runner slides into first base. The runner was called safe.
Nick Taranto fields a throw in the fourth and final game of a four-game series against St. Norbert as a Green Knight runner slides into first base. The runner was called safe.

   The Ripon College baseball team could not have started off its four-game series with St. Norbert much better last week Saturday.

   It jumped out to an 8-0 lead after a half inning and held the rival Green Knights off the board in the bottom of the first inning.

  The rest of the game and weekend was filled with frustration.

   For the third time in less than two weeks, the Red Hawks squandered an early large lead as they dropped the first game 11-10.

   They also lost the second game 11-1 in seven innings and fell 11-4 in the fourth and final contest.
Ripon did win the third game of the series 9-8 in dramatic fashion.

   “It sucks; we lost,” Ripon head coach Eric Cruise said of dropping three of the four games. “And we had a chance to win, at least split, the series and we didn’t do it. We blew another big lead.”

   He noted part of the struggles had to do with not making plays on defense as the Red Hawks (4-4 conference, 5-16 overall) committed 12 errors in the four games — six of which came in game four.

  “Just struggling with the pressure of the situation — that’s what I attribute it to,” Cruise said of what led them to make so many miscues.

  While there was plenty of frustration in the series, Ripon was able to have some fun in game three.

   It jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the contest after three innings, and despite letting the Green Knights (6-2 conference, 14-6 overall) come back to tie it 8-8, had the last laugh as Nick Taranto won the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

   Michael Barnes scored the winning run on a close play at home plate, which was argued heavily by St. Norbert players and coaches.

Read the full story, which includes information on a pair of games against No. 4-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in the April 13, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.