The wins improved the Golden Eagles' record to 3-4.
WICHITA, Kan. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team ended the weekend series over Dakota Wesleyan University with a Sunday sweep as the bats came out in 14-6 and 10-5 victories. The doubleheader was played at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, a minor league baseball park in Wichita, Kan., has been hosting games since 1934.
Minnesota Crookston is sitting at 3-4 on the 2018 season after earning the 2-1 series win over the Tigers. Dakota Wesleyan falls to 1-2 after the Sunday sweep. The victories mark the first for Head Coach Steve Gust over the team he coaches from 2009-14.
Minnesota Crookston combined for 24 runs on 28 hits in an offensive explosion Sunday at the plate.
Game One vs. Dakota Wesleyan
The Golden Eagles looked to Zach Rustad (Jr., LHP, Blaine, Minn.) in game one. The transfer from Century College, earned his first victory at Minnesota Crookston with a quality start in which he gave up just three runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in five innings on the bump. Jayden Grover (So., RHP, Cooperstown, N.D.) gave up three runs on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings of relief. Esten Beneda (R-So., RHP, Lankin, N.D.) had a strong inning as he shut down the Tigers with one strikeout.
Minnesota Crookston had 17 hits in Sunday’s opener in the twin bill. The Golden Eagles were led at the plate by David Anaya (R-Sr., 2B/SS, Tucson, Ariz.), who went 3-of-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Ben Thoma (Fr., UT, Clearbrook, Minn.) finished 2-of-4 with four RBIs and one run scored. Reed Hjelle (Jr., 1B, East Grand Forks, Minn.) went 2-of-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Lead-off hitter Anthony Stewart (R-Sr., OF, Oak Harbor, Wash.) continued a strong start to the season as he was 2-of-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Jonathan Lund (Jr., 3B, Tolna, N.D.) was 2-of-5 with two RBIs and one run scored.
UMC got started right out of the gate with a run in the top of the first. After Stewart walked and Jason Angelo (Sr., IF, Manteca, Calif.) singled, Ethan Mushitz (Sr., SS, East Grand Forks, Minn.) came through with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Stewart.
The Golden Eagles added two in the top of the second. Thoma came through with a two RBI single to drive in Anaya and James Cullinane (Sr., OF, San Francisco, Calif.).
Minnesota Crookston moved the advantage to 4-0 in the third when Lund singled in Hjelle, who had reached on an error.
Dakota Wesleyan finally got to Rustad in the bottom of the third. With runners on the corners, Brandon Oropeza came through with a double to drive in Wes Anderson. After Minnesota Crookston secured the second out of the frame, J.T. Miller lace a single to plate Colton Boudreau and cut the deficit to 4-2. Rustad got out of the inning with a strikeout of Kyle Bailey.
UMC put together a big frame in the top of the fourth. Thoma drove in the first run of the inning on a sacrifice ground out to plate Mitchell Bornhauser (Sr., OF, Northfield, Minn.) Stewart delivered in the clutch with runners on the corner and one out with a double to bring in Anaya. With Steven Sagasty now on in relief, Stewart showcased his wheels, steeling home to move the lead to 7-2.
Dakota Wesleyan added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Boudreau crossed the dish on a wild pitch to cut the Minnesota Crookston lead to 7-3.
The Tigers put together a big offensive inning in the bottom of the seventh. Wes Anderson got it going with a lead-off double, followed by a Reed Harter single. Anderson crossed the plate on a strikeout to open up the scoring. Later in the frame, Bailey had a two RBI single to bring Boudreau and Harter to the platter, cutting the lead to 7-6.
The Golden Eagles responded in a big way in the top of the eighth. Stewart continued a big game with a double to bring home Thoma. With the bases juiced, Hjelle then delivered with a two RBI double to bring in Stewart and Scott Mortenson (Sr., OF, East Grand Forks, Minn.). Lund helped add to the lead with a single to bring Mushitz home to extend the lead to 11-6. Anaya then came through with a two RBI single to bring Lund and Hjelle to the platter to move the advantage to 13-6. Thoma batted for a second time in the frame, driving in Bornhauser on an RBI ground out to move the lead to 14-6.
Game Two vs. Dakota Wesleyan
Justin Yutrzenka (So., RHP, Argyle, Minn.) got the ball in game two for Minnesota Crookston. The Northwest Minnesota product had a strong start, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts.
Gabriel Cavasos (Sr., RHP, San Antonio, Texas) has been one of the strongest pitchers for Minnesota Crookston thus far, as he gave up just one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts in two innings on the bump. Cavasos has a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings of action in relief in four appearances.
Jacob Butcher (R-Sr., RHP, Palmer, Alaska) went one inning and gave up no runs on one hit with one strikeout. Zach Seipel (Sr., RHP, Eagan, Minn.) rounded out the pitchers as the closer was not on in a save opportunity but still made the most of it. Seipel allowed no runs on no hits with two strikeouts in an inning of work.
Cullinane hit 2-of-3 with three runs scored. Wyatt Peppel (R-So., DH, Greenbush, Minn.) finished 2-of-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Stewart was 1-of-3 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Thoma went 1-of-1 with two runs.
Dakota Wesleyan opened the scoring in the top of the first in the second game of the double dip. Chandler Bakley and Harter crossed the bag after Zach Puetz reached on an error by Lund at third base.
UMC cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Mushitz singled in Stewart.
UMC evened the slate 2-2 as Peppel hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Cullinane. With the bases juiced, Zach Frazier (R-Sr., C, Grand Rapids, Minn.) came into score on a wild pitch. Hjelle continued the inning as he reached on an error, allowing Thoma to score to move the advantage to 4-2.
Minnesota Crookston added a pair of runs to their lead in the bottom of the third when Peppel knocked one over the fence to plate Cullinane to extend the lead to 6-2.
Dakota Wesleyan cut into the lead in the fifth as Anderson hit a two RBI single to drive in Landon Neugebauer and Joseph Hanisch to make it 6-4.
The Tigers pulled to within one run in the top of the seventh when Bakley singled in Harter to cut the lead to 6-5.
Minnesota Crookston fended off the charge of Dakota Wesleyan with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. With two runners in scoring position, Stewart delivered a single to drive in Josh Bollig (R-Fr., OF, Detroit Lakes, Minn.). Bornhauser then executed a squeeze bunt to plate Thoma to move the advantage to 8-5. Hjelle rounded out the scoring with a base-knock to bring Stewart to the dish and make it 9-5.
Seipel retired the side in order, and UMC picked up the Sunday sweep with the 10-5 victory.