The Golden Eagles have won nine of their last 10 and conclude their non-conference schedule with a record of 10-5.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team edged Pace University 8-7 on a walk-off bases loaded hit by pitch to Mitchell Bornhauser (Sr., OF, Northfield, Minn.) in the 11th inning. The Golden Eagles conclude their eight-game trip to Florida with a 7-1 mark with their only loss coming to defending Division II National Champion West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
UMC had the bases loaded following an intentional walk to Anthony Stewart (R-Sr., OF, Oak Harbor, Wash.) when Greg Najar hit Bornhauser on the first pitch of the at-bat to give Minnesota Crookston the walk-off win as James Cullinane (Sr., OF, San Francisco, Calif.) came into score.
UMC moves to a 10-5 mark in the preseason as they continue their best start in program history. The tilt took place Mon., March 12 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla.
Jacob Butcher (R-Sr., RHP, Palmer, Alaska) got the win in relief as he navigated out of the trouble in the top of the 10th. The Setters had runners on second and third with no outs. Butcher got Matthew Kurdawan to line out and Harrison Treble to line out to Ethan Mushitz (Sr., SS, East Grand Forks, Minn.) at short stop. Butcher then put a stamp on the inning as he struck out Ryan Crowley to keep the game at 7-7 going into the bottom half of the 10th.
Zach Rustad (Jr., LHP, Blaine, Minn.) got the start for the Golden Eagles and went four innings, allowing no runs on three hits with two strikeouts and three walks. He moves to 1-0 on the season. Butcher has not given up a run in his last four outings in relief.
UMC went to the bullpen from there beginning with Gabriel Cavasos (Sr., RHP, San Antonio, Texas) as he allowed four runs on four hits. Jayden Grover (So., RHP, Cooperstown, N.D.) allowed no runs on two hits with two strikeouts. Louis Gerzin (Jr., RHP, Ely, Minn.) was effective in his one inning as he gave up no runs on no hits. Esten Beneda (R-So., RHP, Lankin, N.D.) then came on and gave up one run on three hits. Zach Seipel (Jr., RHP, Eagan, Minn.) gave up the tying runs in the ninth as he gave up two runs on two hits with two strikeouts. Aaron Hollcraft (Jr., LHP, Crookston, Minn.) had a strong outing as he went one inning and gave up no runs on one hit with one strikeout. Butcher was the eighth pitcher and got the victory.
UMC was propelled at the plate by Anthony Stewart (R-Sr., OF, Oak Harbor, Wash.), who was 3-of-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored with two walks. Reed Hjelle (Jr., 1B, East Grand Forks, Minn.) went 2-of-5 with one RBI and one run scored. Jonathan Lund (Jr., 3B, Tolna, N.D.) finished 1-of-3 with three RBIs and one run scored. Mushitz finished 2-of-4 with one run, as did Zach Frazier (R-Sr. C, Grand Rapids, Minn.). Scott Mortenson (Sr., OF, East Grand Forks, Minn.) was 2-of-3 for the tilt.
The Setters left two stranded in the top of the first after Crowley hit an infield single and Michael Gulino was hit by a pitch. Rustad got out of the frame as he got Felix Camacho to fly out.
UMC jumped on Pace in the bottom of the first as Stewart ignited the Golden Eagles with a lead-off solo shot off the light pole in right field. Lund later singled down the left field line to bring in Mushitz and Hjelle to move the advantage to 3-0. Frazier then came up and singled through the left side to plate Lund to make the score 4-0.
The Setters threatened in the top of the third as Rustad gave up back-to-back walks to Crowley and Piccolino. The Minnesota Crookston lefty was able to get out of trouble to hold the 4-0 lead.
Pace got to Cavasos in relief in the top of the fifth. Michael Salmonese tripled to right center to drive in the first run of the game in the form of Paul Piccolino to cut the deficit to 4-1. Gulino then doubled to left center to plate Salmonese. Camacho delivered a big blow with two-run shot to left field to plate himself and Gulino and knot the game up 4-4.
The Golden Eagles broke the tie off of relief Alex Busby as Lund hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Bornhauser and put Minnesota Crookston up 5-4.
Pace got the tying run in the top of the eighth as Salmonese singled to left field to drive in Treble. Seipel got Minnesota Crookston out of further damage as he struck out Galino and got Camacho to foul out to first base.
Minnesota Crookston broke through in the bottom of the eighth when Stewart laced one to right center for a triple to bring Frazier in to score. Stewart scored as Hjelle reached on an error at third base to go up 7-5.
The Setters knotted the game up 7-7 in the top of the ninth off Seipel as Crowley singled to left field to bring in Riley Iafrate and Matt Almonte.
UMC had two on with one out in the bottom of the ninth but Kyle Cashman navigated Pace out of trouble to keep the game at 7-7 and send the contest into extras.
UMC had two on with one out in the bottom of the 10th but Najar was able to pitch the Setters out of trouble as the game stayed tied 7-7.
Almonte and Michael Barbato started reached base to open the top of the 11th. Butcher then came in to relieve Hollcraft and got three quick outs to leave the runners stranded in the scoring position with the game still knotted up 7-7.
Cullinane opened the bottom of the 11th with a walk. He would steal second later in the frame as Minnesota Crookston got two outs. Cullinane advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ben Thoma (Fr., UT, Clearbrook, Minn.) was then hit by pitch and Stewart was intentionally walked. That is when Bornhauser was hit by the first pitch of the at-bat as the Golden Eagles ended their time in the Sunshine State with an 8-7 victory.
Minnesota Crookston will open up Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play against Concordia-St. Paul March 17 and 18 in St. Paul, Minn.