The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) baseball team lost a pair of critical games with NSIC Tournament seeding implications against Northern State in an NSIC doubleheader played in Moorhead, Minnesota at Bucky Burgau Baseball Field.
GAME ONE – Minnesota Crookston struck first in the top of the second inning scoring two runs. Scott Finberg (Jr., Stillwater) doubled to left field with one out in the inning before Mason Ruhlman (Jr., Algonac, MI) doubled down the right field line scoring Finberg and giving the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead. Following a fly out to center field, Bryce Jorgenson (Jr., Thunder Bay, Ontario) doubled to left center field scoring Ruhlman from second base and giving Minnesota Crookston a 2-0 lead after two innings. Northern State capitalized off of a lead-off single in the bottom of the third inning to set up an RBI single into left field trimming the Wolves’ deficit down to 2-1 after three innings. Another leadoff single followed by a throwing error allowed Northern State’s first two base runners to reach in the fourth inning before a double to right center field scored two more runs for NSU giving the Wolves a 3-2 lead after four innings. In the top of the sixth inning, Brock Reller (Soph., Grand Forks, ND) reached on a throwing error to spark a rally for Minnesota Crookston. Ben Thoma (Soph., Clearbrook) laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Reller to second base before Travis Conoryea (R-Soph., Inver Grove Heights) doubled down the right field line scoring Reller and tying the game at 3-3 going into the seventh inning. Nate Albrecht (Sr., Wahpeton, ND) exited his outing after tossing seven innings and allowing just two earned runs over seven innings while striking out eight before giving way UMC closer to Dalton Grose (R-Soph., Waterville) in the eighth inning. In the bottom of the ninth inning, a leadoff single followed by a passed ball moved the winning run into scoring position. With two outs in the inning, Hayden Hall (Mountain Home, AR) knocked a bloop single into shallow left-center field plating the game-winning run from second base giving Northern State the 4-3 walk-off win in game one.
|Nate Albrecht – UMC||7.0||5||3||2||1||8|
|Dalton Grose – UMC||1.2||3||1||1||2||2|
Reed Hjelle – 2-3
Scott Finberg – 2-4, run, double
GAME TWO – Minnesota Crookston’s offense wasted little time manufacturing runs to open the second game. Bryce Jorgenson (Jr., Thunder Bay, Ontario) was hit by a pitch to open the game before advancing to second base on a passed ball. Mason Ruhlman (Jr., Algonac, MI) doubled up the middle scoring Jorgenson from second base giving the Golden Eagles a 1-0. After Reed Hjelle (Sr., East Grand Forks) walked, Ruhlman stole third base while Hjelle moved into scoring position at second base. The double-steal proved unnecessary as Brock Reller (Soph., Grand Forks, ND) blasted a home run over the right field fence scoring all three and pushing Minnesota Crookston’s advantage to 4-0 heading into the bottom half of the opening frame. A lead-off single followed by a batter that was hit by a pitch put two runners on for Northern State in the bottom of the second inning before a single into left field scored one run trimming the Wolves’ deficit down to 4-1 after two innings. Following a pair of ground outs to start the fourth inning, a two-out single extended the frame for Northern State before a hit down the left field line cleared the fence for a two-run home run bringing the Wolves within 4-3 after four innings. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Northern State completed its comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning, loading the bases before a one-out single hit into shallow right field scored two runs giving Northern State a 5-3 lead. Back-to-back singles plated three more runs before a home run over the fence in left-center field put the Wolves ahead 9-4 capping off the six-run inning with the hosts now firmly in control. Northern State added one more run with an RBI double in the sixth inning giving the Wolves a 10-4 lead heading into the seventh and final inning. The Golden Eagles failed to mount a comeback in the seventh inning as Northern State closed out the doubleheader sweep with a 10-4 win in the second game.
Minnesota Crookston falls to 21-18 overall and 14-11 in conference play. The Golden Eagles return to the diamond on Saturday to start a four-game series against Bemidji State in Bemidji starting with at 1 p.m. Only the first three games of the series will count towards UMC’s conference record. Northern State improves to 19-20 overall and 14-14 in conference play.
|Graeme Cherry – UMC||4.0||5||3||3||1||2|
|Aaron Hollcraft – UMC||0.1||1||3||3||2||1|
|Louis Gerzin – UMC||0.2||3||3||3||0||2|
|Tyler Hegg – UMC||1.0||3||1||1||0||0|
Brock Reller – 1-2, 3 RBI, run, HR, walk
Mason Ruhlman – 1-3, RBI, run, double