Lincoln baseball coach Jim Dapkus hopes it's a matter of time before the Blue Tigers' bats start to heat up.
They've been ice cold through the first eight games of the season.
Lincoln managed just nine hits and stranded 10 baserunners in two games as Northwest Missouri swept a Thursday afternoon doubleheader 9-2, 7-1 in a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association matchup at Blue Tiger Field.
"It's a really tough way to play when you're not scoring runs," Dapkus said. "We're putting a lot of pressure on ourselves offensively, and that is putting pressure on pitching and defense to the point where we can't give up anything because we're not scoring."
Lincoln (0-8, 0-6) tallied four hits in the opener and five in the nightcap to drop its team batting average to .179 on the season.
Zach Roberts had the only extra-base hit for the Blue Tigers, ranked last in the MIAA in runs scored (17) and runs batted in (13).
"We've been in a tough situation of not being able to get on the field and playing," Dapkus said. "We're still kind of early in the season in terms of just getting game reps. Hopefully, as we keep playing we can kind of get some guys going a little bit."
Ben Stewart, one of Lincoln's offensive leaders last season, was 3-for-6 on the day to lead Lincoln at the plate. Roberts, Kaleb Davis and Craig Jones each drove in runs, while Josh Kennedy, Logan Smith, and Nick Lovell all singled for the Blue Tigers.
"Hopefully Ben got going in this game," Dapkus said. "He got some good at-bats, but we need a lot more than that."
One of the bright spots for Lincoln was the outing Joe Jungmeyer put together. The senior right-hander allowed one run on six hits, struck out four and walked two in 6 and 2/3's innings as the Blue Tigers' Game 2 starting pitcher.
"About halfway through last year, Joe really took it up a notch as far as throwing more strikes and getting his off-speed stuff going," Dapkus said. "You can kind of see his confidence level growing and growing.
"He did a great job of keeping us in the game, we just couldn't get a couple runs to help him out a little bit more."
Jungmeyer was tagged for his only run in the top of the third when Eric McGlauflin's RBI double with two outs scored Paul Johnson to give Northwest a 1-0 lead in the nightcap.
Jungmeyer (0-3) retired nine of the next 13 batters before issuing a walk with two outs in the top of the seventh, forcing Dapkus to go to his bullpen.
"I felt like I got hurt on one pitch," Jungmeyer said. "I left it up a little bit and the guy stroked it pretty good."
Northwest added four runs in the top of the eighth and plated two more after a two-run home run by Austin Wulff in the top of the ninth to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead in Game 2.
Lincoln plated its lone run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Jones that scored James Earleywine, who led off the inning by reachOVERSET FOLLOWS:ing on an error.
Game 1 wasn't any better for Lincoln.
Smith singled in the second inning, but the Blue Tigers didn't get another hit - and were limited to two base runners - until Lovell led off the sixth with a base-hit up the middle.
Roberts immediately followed with an RBI single and Lincoln drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs, but the Blue Tigers only scratched across one more run after David dropped in bloop single that scored Roberts from third.
By that time, Lincoln already trailed 8-2 entering the final inning.
"Every little thing gets magnified when we're hitting as bad as we are right now," Dapkus said. "We've just got to do a better job of fine-tuning some stuff."
Northwest took control in the opener when Zack Ferreira, the Bearcats' nine-hole hitter, contacted with a three-run double with two outs in the top of the second.
Northwest added two runs in the third, one in the fourth, two in the firth, and one in the seventh to put the Blue Tigers away.
Lincoln pitcher Ryan Simpson allowed six runs, seven hits, and walked three in 3 and 2/3's innings in just his second start of the season.
"Like I told him after the game, "If you get through that (second) inning, it could be a completely different game for you,'" Dapkus said.
Six different Lincoln pitchers combined to allow 22 hits, 10 walks and four hit batsmen in 16 innings.
Ferreira was 4-for-7 with four RBI, while McGlauflin was 5-for-8 and drove in a run to lead Northwest offensively.
Lincoln will continue its four-game series against Northwest today when the Blue Tigers host the Bearcats for another doubleheader, starting at noon.
"We've just got to get our guys more at-bats," Dapkus said. "It's been a solid week since our last game. They're just not getting a lot of game at-bats. As the weekend goes on, we just got to get them some rhythm so they can get some confidence."