By RYAN SHUMAKER
Northwestern baseball dropped two games in a pivotal series for the conference race over the weekend.
With the Great American Conference tournament just a few weeks, the race for play-off spots was underway for the Rangers this weekend at Myers Stadium. Unfortunately, the Rangers made a post-season berth much more difficult after losing the series to Arkansas Tech 2-1.
The Rangers came out in the first game of the series and dominated the Wonder Boys in a 9-2 victory. Senior Robert Lawhon took the mound and went eight innings strong while striking out nine batters to increase his season strikeout total to a conference leading 91 strikeouts on the year.
Junior Colton Krokroskia led the way for the Rangers at the plate with a 3-4 performance that included three RBI’s. Senior Jeremy Smith also homered in the fifth inning, which drove in two more runs.
In the first game of the Saturday doubleheader, the Rangers were unable to overcome an early 7-1 lead and lost 7-4. Junior Pat Delano took the mound and went six innings while giving up five earned runs.
Infielders Xyruse Martinez and Casey Dickerman were the only Rangers who could manage more than one hit on the day. The Rangers increased the lead down to 7-4 in the seventh inning, but were unable to manufacture anymore runs in the final two innings.
The final game ended in heart break when the Wonder Boys scored on an error to end an 11-inning thriller, winning 5-4. Seven different pitchers took the mound for the Rangers throughout the game, while Martinez led the way at the plate with a 3-5 stat line.
After a three-run homer in the third for the Wonder Boys, centerfielder Thomas Bess answered with one of his own, followed by another blast from Martinez just one batter later.
The Rangers will now have to win at least two games against Southwestern this weekend, April 29-30, to even have a chance at post-season contention. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Friday in Weatheford.