Looking to third base after Nick Terrell’s game-winning, bases-clearing triple in the first game of Ripon’s series against Lawrence are, from left, Jacob Pankratz, Keegan Johnston and Nick Taranto.
Looking to third base after Nick Terrell’s game-winning, bases-clearing triple in the first game of Ripon’s series against Lawrence are, from left, Jacob Pankratz, Keegan Johnston and Nick Taranto.

    Trailing 1-0 entering the top of the sixth inning of a must-win game Sunday, the Ripon College baseball team received a big hit from a senior when it mattered most.

   Nick Taranto delivered a two-run home run to give the Red Hawks a lead they didn’t relinquish. They went on to defeat Lawrence 11-1 and clinch a spot in the Midwest Conference Tournament.

   Ripon earned a spot in the dance for the first time since 2015 by virtue of holding the tiebreaker over St. Norbert due to having a better record against third-place Beloit.

   “We talked about ‘senioring’ up and he did. Then the next inning [he] made a phenomenal backhand play to end the inning and not let them get anything started,” Ripon head coach Eric Cruise said of Taranto. “I am so happy for Nick because he had really been struggling really the whole series.”

   The Red Hawks entered the series, which took place last week Saturday in Ripon and Sunday in Appleton, needing to win three of the four games against Lawrence to punch their ticket. Cruise, however, didn’t make a point of mentioning it to his players during practice.

   “You don’t make it a topic of conversation because despite Lawrence’s record (5-23 overall), they scared the bejesus out of me because they’ll hit and they had one thing to play for and it was to ruin our season — and they darn near did it,” Cruise said.

   The Vikings did put a scare in the Red Hawks as they led in the sixth inning or later in three of the four games, two of which Ripon was able to come back and win.

Read the read the full story, which includes more information on the series as well as a spilt with No. 16-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in the May 9, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.