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Baseball: Southland Vikings split doubleheader with Lexington

Updated: August 26, 2014 6:34AM



Screamers to the outfield and liners in the infield.

The Southland Vikings were ripping the ball all over the field Thursday with little to show for it.

In a tie game in the bottom of the sixth, Southland’s Brandon Mallder exacted some revenge of the hard-hit variety.

The St. Laurence product hit a screamer off Lexington pitcher Adam Casson’s glove in a bases-loaded situation, allowing Steve Letz to score the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run in Southland’s 5-4 Midwest Collegiate League win at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Southland fell 8-7 to Lexington (23-16) in the nightcap.

“We had a lot of hard outs, especially Jeff (Boehm), and Stefano (Belmonte), too,” Mallder said. “You’re going to have days like that. That’s how it is some days. You get lucky. You get hits sometimes when you shouldn’t necessarily get them.”

Mallder finished 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run in Game 1. Chris Sujka and Chase Fieldhouse had RBI.

Southland (25-12) has the inside track to the top seed in the playoffs, which begin Tuesday. The Vikings wrap up the regular season with home games Saturday and Sunday vs. the Chicago Zephyrs.

“Home-field advantage is always a big plus, especially in the playoffs,” Mallder said. “We’re just playing well right now, and it doesn’t necessarily matter where we’re playing or who. We’re playing good baseball, and that’s what matters.”

Justin Freeman earned his first save of the summer with an adventurous top of the seventh. Both Sujka and Fieldhouse made highlight-reel diving catches on hard-hit balls in the outfield to help preserve the win.

Shading toward right, Fieldhouse sprinted back to left-center and dived to rob Casson of a potential extra-base hit.

Freeman graduated from Rich Central in the spring.

“I’m glad I’ve got my guys behind me,” Freeman said with a smile. “That’s why I’ve got seven guys making plays. I’m getting lots of experience, learning from these guys and know what to expect heading into college.”

The Vikings mounted a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh in Game 2. Fieldhouse (2 RBI) led Southland with Sujka, Alex Lugo, Steve Letz, Micah Rooke and Kendall King adding an RBI apiece.

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Southland.



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