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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Tim Kuchenbecker (Jr.-Brillion, Wis.) hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning in the Lakeland College baseball team's season opener, propelling the Muskies to a 4-3 win over Elms (Mass.) College Sunday at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
Kuchenbecker's big hit highlighted a 2-3 start for the Muskies through their first five games of the season. Lakeland added a loss to Elms and a pair of losses to Salve Regina (R.I.) University before defeating Monmouth (Ill.) College 7-5 on Tuesday in a single nine-inning game.
Kuchenbecker had three hits in the opener and delivered a bases-loaded double with one out in the top of the seventh to put the Muskies ahead. Matt Weller (Jr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) picked up the win in relief with a scoreless sixth inning, and David Cherney (Sr.-Green Bay, Wis.) picked up the save with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Lakeland picked up its other win when it defeated Monmouth behind seven solid innings by freshman pitcher Luke Kelly (Marinette, Wis.). Kelly allowed seven hits and just one run while striking out three in his first collegiate start to get the win.
Jared Rear (Fr.-Belleville, Wis.) had three hits against the Fighting Scots, while Brady Callahan (So.-Sheboygan, Wis.) added two hits and drove in three runs. The Muskies pulled ahead with four runs in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead, then held on after Monmouth scored four times in the top of the ninth to make it interesting.
The Muskies dropped their second game on Sunday by a 3-2 score against Elms and then were swept by scores of 13-4 and 8-3 by Salve Regina on Monday.
Lakeland took a 2-1 lead in the second game against Elms when Charlie Sparrow (Jr.-Milwaukee, Wis.) hit a two-run single for a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Elms scored once in the top of the seventh and then scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
Salve Regina pounded out 28 hits over two games in a doubleheader sweep on Monday. Kuchenbecker had two hits in each of the two games, but the Muskies stranded 19 baserunners on the afternoon.