The University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagle Baseball team has relied on their offense in their first nine victories, but it was the pitching on Sunday that won the two games in a 1-0 victory in game one and a 6-1 victory in game two over the Upper Iowa Peacocks in a Northern Sun Conference doubleheader at Fayette, Iowa.
Neither team had a hit in the first two innings. In the third inning, UMC recorded the first hit when Landyn Swenson (Sr. Devils Lake, ND) singled. The threat was short-lived as the Golden Eagles hit into a double play and were retired.
UMC pitcher Jake Dykhoff (Jr. Wadena) didn’t give up a hit in the first five innings. Upper Iowa finally made some contact and had back-to-back one-out singles. Dykhof got out of the jam with a double play, and the game was still scoreless after five innings of play.
Upper Iowa had another hit in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, but the next two Peacocks were retired, and the game was still scoreless after six innings.
In the top of the seventh inning, Upper Iowa decided to change pitchers to start the inning, which proved to be a costly decision. Two-time NSIC player of the week led off the top of the seventh inning when Brock Reller (Jr. Grand Forks, ND) doubled down the right-field line. Upper Iowa changed pitchers again, and the next UMC batter flew out to the right field, but Reller advanced to third base on the play. The next UMC batter struck out for the second out of the inning and a runner still at third base. The Golden Eagles have scored 41 percent of their runs with two outs this season and their clutch two-out hitting mastery continued when Parker Stroh (Fresh. Grand Forks, ND) singled to right field to score Reller for a 1-0 lead.
Upper Iowa had a good start in the bottom of the seventh inning when the leadoff batter reached on an error. The runner advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After a ground out, the next Peacock batter walked, and Upper Iowa had runners at first and second base with one out. The next batter grounded out to second base, and the runners advanced to second and third base on the play. With two runners in scoring position, the next batter flew out to left field, and UMC held on to win the game 1-0.
UMC’s Dykhoff pitched a complete game seven innings while only giving up three hits, striking out four, and only walking one in the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. UMC only had three hits, with Landyn Swenson, Parker Stroh, and Brock Reller getting a hit apiece.
FOR THE GAME ONE BOX SCORE, CLICK HERE
After only recording three hits in the first game, it looked like it might be another tough game when the first two UMC batters struck out. UMC settled in, and Mason Ruhlman (Sr. Algonac, Mich) and Reller singled, but the next batter flew out, and the Golden Eagle threat was erased.
Neither team scored in the first two innings. In the bottom of the third inning, UMC found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, with an early deficit. Upper Iowa’s first two batters in the third were retired, only to follow with a walk and a stolen base and a single for a 1-0 lead.
UMC finally got on the board in the top of the fifth inning when Swenson doubled to left field to lead off the inning. Swenson advanced to third base after a groundout and came into score on a Will Zimmerman (Sr. Park River, ND) ground out to tie the game at 1-1. Ruhlman gave the Golden Eagles the lead with a solo home run for a 2-1 lead.
Nobody scored in the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, UMC’s Swenson led off with a single, and after an out on a bunt attempt, Zimmerman walked. Upper Iowa made a pitching change, and that came back to hurt Upper Iowa. The baserunners advanced to second and third on a balk, and Ruhlman knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly. Reller was intentionally walked, and after another pitching change, Reller walked, and Zimmerman scored on a wild pitch for a 4-1 lead.
UMC added some insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning with a Bobby Chu (Sr. Redwood City, CA) walk, and Eli Jung (Jr. Dickinson, ND) reached on an error. After the next two batters were retired, UMC’s Zimmerman reached on a throwing error, and two runs came into score on the play for a 6-1 lead.
Upper Iowa didn’t get a hit in the final two innings, and UMC held on for a 6-1 victory to complete the sweep.
UMC had another stellar pitching performance from Matt Nelson (Soph. Afton) and Brody Sorenson (Fresh. Grand Forks, ND). Nelson pitched 6.1 innings and scattered five hits, only giving up one run while recording four strikeouts and four walks to get his second win of the year. Sorenson picked up his second save of the year, going 2.2 innings while striking out three and not allowing a hit or a run.
FOR THE GAME TWO BOX SCORE, CLICK HERE
UMC improves on their best start in program history, improving to 11-0 on the season, and they take on Upper Iowa in one game on Monday. Upper Iowa drops to 3-7 on the year.