Sophomore pitcher Steve Plucinski tied an NCAA Division III mark by striking out 22 batters in Lakeland's 6-0 victory over Edgewood College Tuesday afternoon in Sheboygan [box score]. With the win, the Muskies clinched their third straight Lake Michigan Conference championship by improving to 21-12 overall and 13-2 in the LMC. Edgewood dropped to 12-24 and 6-9.

Plucinski's feat tied the mark that has only happened twice in Division III baseball history. Scott Alexander from Salve Regina did it on April 3, 2001 verses Anna Maria College, and David Baumann of Western New England did it on April 11th 1988 verses Curry College. No one has ever struck out more than 21 batters in a Division II game, and only 5 pitchers have struck out more than 22 at the Division I level.

Plucinski, a third-team All-American last season, gave up just one hit and faced just one batter over the minimum as he threw his second shutout of the year. Ironically, his first shutout was also verses Edgewood when Plucinski allowed just 4 hits and struck out 10 in Lakeland's 4-0 victory on April 15th. Dating back to last season he has shutout Edgewood three straight games. He moved his mark to 3-3 with a miniscule 1.62 ERA.

Plucinski struck out every Eagle batter at least twice with the exception of Ryan Klemko, who struck out once. Five players struck out 3 times and three players struck out twice. Plucinski ended the game by striking out the last 9 batters and 12 of the last 13.

The Muskie offense continued its torrid streak by banging out 14 hits, but also left 13 men on base. Lakeland had single runs in the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings, and plated two in the second. Senior Tadd Russell had 3 hits and 2 RBI, while sophomore Gabe Vollmer also had 3 hits and an RBI. Senior Mike Stoeckigt had two hits and two RBI's while fellow senior Rich Shatusky had two hits as well. Every player had a hit for Lakeland with the exception of Shane Hansen.

"It was truly the best pitching performance that I've witnessed in my nine years of coaching and my four as a college ballplayer," said 5th year head coach John Weber. "He was truly overpowering and he had command of all his pitches. Edgewood is an excellent program and I'm proud of Steve for his achievement and proud of the team overall for their achievement."

Lakeland is currently ranked 5th in the Midwest Region and is receiving votes in the national poll. The third straight conference title marked the first championships for the program since 1986. The 21 wins marked the first time in school history that the program has won 20 or more games in 4 straight seasons. Last year the Muskies finished 5th in the nation at 34-16-1 after becoming the smallest college ever to make the Division III College World Series with an enrollment of 715 at the time.

---Provided by Lakeland College Sports Information Department---

--April 30, 2003--