The Golden Eagles have dropped their first 10 conference contests

WINONA, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team fell 13-5 and 7-4 to Winona State University Thurs., March 29 at Loughrey Field in Winona, Minn. The Golden Eagles gave up nine runs in the first two innings in game one and were unable to overcome the early deficit. In game two, Minnesota Crookston ceded a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth as Winona State scored five runs in the final four frames.

    Minnesota Crookston is still seeking their first conference win. The Golden Eagles fall to 10-15 (0-10 NSIC). They started the season 10-5 after going 7-1 on their trip to Florida prior to their NSIC opener. The Golden Eagles have now lost 10 straight. Winona State improves to 7-12 (6-6 NSIC) with Thursday’s wins.

Game One

    Minnesota Crookston gave up nine runs in the first two innings as they fell 13-5 in the series opener of their four-game excursion in Winona, Minn.

    Zach Rustad (Jr., LHP, Blaine, Minn.) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on four hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

    Nicolas Herold got the win in relief for Winona State after allowing just one run on two hits with three strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.

    Minnesota Crookston was led by Reed Hjelle (Jr., 1B, East Grand Forks, Minn.), who went 3-of-4 with one run scored. Scott Mortenson (Sr., OF, East Grand Forks, Minn.) was 1-of-3 with two RBIs and one run scored, while Jonathan Lund (Jr., 3B, Tolna, N.D.) finished 1-of-4 with two RBIs.

    Winona State looked to Sam Kohnle, who was a perfect 5-of-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Zac Stange went 1-of-3 with two runs scored, while Andrew Pliner was 2-of-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.

    The Warriors got out to an early lead in the series debut Thursday as Pliner scored in the top of the first on a Tanner Williams fielder’s choice to make it 1-0 Winona State. Rustad got out of the inning but ran into even more trouble in the top of the second. With runners on the corners after an error by Mortenson in left field, Williams hit an infield single to drive in Kohnle. The Warriors built on their lead when Chad Herbst scored on a Rustad wild pitch. Rustad exited the game after walking Kipp Youngquist with just one out. Derek Martin built on the lead as he singled off of Graeme Cherry (Jr., LHP, Millarville, Alberta) to plate Herbst and move the advantage to 5-0. A Kohnle double to right field with the bases loaded plated Stange and Martin to move the advantage to 7-0. An error from Ethan Mushitz (Sr., SS, East Grand Forks, Minn.) extended the inning, allowing Pliner to come to the dish to score and make the tally 8-0. The final run of the second inning onslaught crossed as Kohnle scored on a Cherry wild pitch. Cherry would get the final out of the frame but not without Winona State owning a 9-0 advantage.

    Minnesota Crookston finally came through in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hjelle set the tone of the inning with a lead-off triple to left center. He would score on an error by the short stop as the Golden Eagles cut the lead to 9-1. Mortenson closed the gap further with his first home run of the season to plate himself and Jonathan Lund and cut the deficit to 9-3. A single from Anthony Stewart (R-Sr., OF, Oak Harbor, Wash.) brought in Zach Frazier (R-Sr., C, Grand Rapids, Minn.) to slice the lead to 9-4. Herold would pitch Winona State out of further danger as he secured the final out.

    The Golden Eagles threatened to cut the gap further in the bottom of the fifth. An error at second base allowed Wyatt Peppel (R-So., DH, Greenbush, Minn.) to reach safely. The Golden Eagles would have runners on the corners with two out after Frazier was offered a walk. However, Herold got Ben Thoma to pop out to keep Minnesota Crookston at bay 9-4.

    Winona State looked to add a run in the top of the sixth as Herbst singled with Kohnle running the bases, but Mortenson would throw out Kohnle at third to keep the game within reach at 9-4. Eric Newman (R-So., RHP, Buffalo, Minn.) came on to get the final out to hold the score right there.

    The Warriors added four security runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases packed, Pliner hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Martin. Kohnle then singled to center field to score Nathan Loomis to move the lead to 11-4. Taylor Field concluded the scoring with a double to center field to drive in Kohnle and Stange and widen the advantage to 13-4. Dalton Grose made his season debut on the mound and got the Golden Eagles out of any further trouble.

    Minnesota Crookston got a run back in the bottom of the seventh as Clarke Peterson (R-So., C, East Grand Forks, Minn.) made his debut at the plate on the 2018 season with an infield single to drive in Jonathan Lund. Peterson helped cut the lead to 13-5. However, the Golden Eagles would be unable to get anything more in the bottom of the seventh as the Warriors took the 13-5 win.

    Caleb Schoenholz got the start for Winona State and allowed three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

    Cherry allowed just two earned runs in 3.1 innings for the Golden Eagles on six hits with two strikeouts. Newman gave up two runs on no hits with two walks and a strikeout. Wyatt Huso (R-Sr., RHP, Eagan, Minn.) allowed two runs on two hits with one walk, while Dalton Grose (R-Fr., LHP, Watertown, Minn.) gave up no runs in 0.2 innings with one strikeout in his collegiate debut.

Game Two

    Minnesota Crookston surrendered a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning as they gave up five runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Winona State took the game by a tally of 7-4.

    Parker Hanson (So., RHP, Hawley, Minn.) picked up the loss for the Golden Eagles. He gave up five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and four walks in 5.2 innings.

    Minnesota Crookston got strong work out of their bullpen. Louis Gerzin (Jr., RHP, Ely, Minn.) continued his strong pitching as he gave up no runs on no hits and one walk in 0.1 innings. Esten Beneda (R-So., RHP, Lankin, N.D.) also continued his dominance in the pen as he gave up no runs on no hits in one inning of work. Nate Albrecht (R-So., LHP, Wahpeton, N.D.) made his second appearance since returning from injury. Albrecht allowed two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings of work. Aaron Hollcraft (Jr., LHP, Crookston, Minn.) was strong out of the bullpen as he gave up no runs on one hit with a strikeout in 1.1 innings.

    The win went to Dillon Whittaker of Winona State as he gave up four runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Justin Watzka got the save after allowing no runs on one hit with four strikeouts.

    Ben Thoma (Fr., UT, Clearbrook, Minn.) broke through with one of his best games at the plate as he was 2-of-4 with two RBIs. Lund finished 2-of-4 with two runs scored, while Peppel was also 2-of-4. Frazier finished 1-of-3 with one RBI.

    Winona State looked to Williams, who went 2-of-3 with one RBI and two runs scored. Nick Nalewanski finished 2-of-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, while Martin was 2-of-5 with one RBI and one run scored.

    The Warriors opened up the scoring in game two when Williams hit a solo shot over the right field fence to make it 1-0.

    Minnesota Crookston evened the score 1-1 in the bottom of the second as Thoma doubled to left center to bring Lund around to score.

    The Warriors got one run in the top of the third when Field singled with the bases loaded to plate Nalewanski. Hanson would navigate out of tough waters as he got Williams to ground out to leave three Winona State runners stranded.

    Minnesota Crookston came through with a big fourth frame. Thoma delivered again for the Golden Eagles as he singled to right field to drive in Mushitz to knot the game up 2-2. Minnesota Crookston took a 3-2 lead when Frazier singled to left field to score Lund.

    Hanson ran into control problems in the sixth inning as he allowed two walks and a single to open up the frame. The first run crossed as Youngquist hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Field. Winona State continued the scoring as Nalewanski doubled to plate Williams to make it 4-2. The final run crossed as Gerzin offered a bases loaded walk to Pliner to move the tally to 5-2. Gerzin got out of the inning as he secured the final out.

    Minnesota Crookston pulled within 5-4 as Jason Angelo (Sr., IF, Manteca, Calif.) scored on a Hjelle ground out. However, the Golden Eagles would leave two stranded as the Warriors secured the final out of the frame.

    Winona State added two insurance runs in the top of the eighth. Martin made it 6-4 as he singled up the middle to plate Youngquist. Kohnle later singled to drive in Martin. Hollcraft came on to get the final out as the Warriors held a 7-4 lead.

    Peppel reached on a single to start off the bottom of the eighth. He would advance to second and third on wild pitches, but none of his teammates would be able to get him home as the score stayed at 7-4.

    Minnesota Crookston had one runner in the bottom of the ninth in the form of a walk to Mushitz. They would be unable to do anything with him as he was stranded on first as the game ended in a 7-4 victory for the Warriors.

    The Golden Eagles return to action with the final two games of the series against Winona State Fri., March 30 at 12 and 2 p.m. in Winona, Minn.