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Tigers offense erupts

When a team’s bats are locked in and the lineup feeds off of one another, it can be tough for opposing pitchers to stop any offense.

Case in point was Northwestern’s offense in an early season Colonial League game last week. Just ask Northern Lehigh pitcher Chad Ceberberg. Northwestern (5-2 overall, 4-1 in Colonial League) exploded for 17 hits and put the 10-run rule in effect in the sixth inning with a 11-1 win over Northern Lehigh last Friday.

“It feels good because they are our rival,” said junior Tyler Schreiner, who recorded two RBIs and the game-clinching tally in the sixth. “It always feels good when you can beat them at home.”

That’s how the Tigers’ bats have been for much of the season-explosive and consistent.

The Tigers have scored at least six runs in their first four league games, including a whopping 17 on Wednesday against Southern Lehigh, before being shut out by Bangor (5-0 in Colonial League) on Monday.

Northern Lehigh actually erased a quick 1-0 Tiger lead with a run of their own in the top of the third inning. But Northwestern responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame with an avalanche of offense.

Eight Tigers batted in the bottom half of the third, and sophomore Trevor Schreiner capped the inning with an RBI-single that made it a 3-1 advantage. Senior Brady Mengel (2-for-3) scored on Schreiner’s hit and added an RBI in the frame.

“I think we can be pretty good,” said Tyler Schreiner. “Our approaches are great. We always hunt first-pitch strikes. That’s what they were giving us.”

The Tigers would never be threatened over the final three innings.

Mengel’s triple and sophomore Tyler Wiik’s RBI-double to deep right field was part of a three-run fourth inning that ballooned the Tigers’ lead to 6-1 behind sophomore pitcher Mason Vogwill. Wiik went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the game.

“Plain and simple, they out-hit us,” Northern Lehigh head coach Greg King said. “They’re up towards the top [of the Colonial League]. Today they showed us they could hit the ball. “

Senior Jake Augustus (3-for-5 with two runs) and Schreiner highlighted the fifth inning with RBI-hits that made it an 8-1 game. Wiik’s second double of the game scored Niko Fager in the sixth, followed by an Isaac Fatzinger RBI-single, and capped by Schreiner’s RBI-double to cement the victory.

In the opposite dugout, two of Northern Lehigh’s five hits came in the first inning. The Bulldogs have scored just one run in three of their four league games.

“They made a couple of good plays out there today, and that helped them,” King said. “We hit the ball well, and they would make a good play.”

Vogwill picked up the win after pitching 4 2/3 innings and allowing just one run on five hits. Sophomore Andrew White pitched the final 1 1/3 and sat down all four batters he faced.

“We knew we can get hits and he [Vogwill] would help us with the lead and keep it up there,” Schreiner said.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMason Vogwill delivers a pitch during the Tigers' win over Northern Lehigh last week.