The Golden Eagles fall to 0-1

WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The 20th-ranked University of Central Missouri Mules scored six runs in the fourth and fifth innings to help lead to an 12-5 defeat of the University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team. Wednesday marked the 2019 opener for the Golden Eagles at Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field in Warrensburg, Mo. Minnesota Crookston held an early 1-0 lead before giving up back-to-back six-run frames.

    The Golden Eagles fall to 0-1 after Wednesday’s loss. The Mules improve to 3-4 with the victory.

    Zach Rustad (Sr., LHP, Blaine, Minn.) got the ball in game one of the season. The former Century College pitcher started out strong before giving up six runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Rustad had pitched scoreless baseball in the first three innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits with one walk in five frames. Rustad falls to 0-1 with Wednesday’s loss.

    Conner Richardson (Fr., RHP, Grand Forks, N.D.) came on in relief for his first collegiate outing. Richardson gave up three runs on four hits in two innings of work.

    Esten Beneda (R-Jr., RHP, Lankin, N.D.) relieved Richardson and allowed three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings.

    Reed Hjelle (Sr., 1B East Grand Forks, Minn.). showcased his offensive prowess as the 2018 NSIC Player of the Year and the 2019 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year went 3-of-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. Scott Finberg (Jr., 3B, Stillwater, Minn.) finished 2-of-4. Griffin Fussy (R-So., SS, Ham Lake, Minn.) finished 1-of-3 with two RBIs. Brock Reller (So., OF, Grand Forks, N.D.) went 1-of-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Brock Jorgenson (Jr., UT, Thunder Bay, Ontario) went 2-of-5 with one run scored.

    The Golden Eagles finished with five runs on 10 hits.

    Collin Jones got the win for Central Missouri after allowing just one run on four hits in five innings of work. Jones picked up five strikeouts and a walk. Conor Dryer allowed four runs on four hits in relief. Coby Seiz pitched a scoreless outing in 1.2 innings of relief with three strikeouts.

    Central Missouri notched 12 runs on 14 hits Wednesday. The Mules were paced by Mason Janvrin at the top of the line-up, as he went 2-of-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Michael Sinks, batting clean-up for Central Missouri, went 2-of-4 with two RBIs and one run scored, while Micah Evans was 3-of-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

    UMC broke up the pitcher’s duel in the top of the fourth as Hjelle led off the stanza with his first home run of 2019 as Minnesota Crookston took the 1-0 lead.

    Central Missouri responded in their half of the fourth as Alex Madera knotted the game up after stealing third and scoring on an errant throw from Ben Thoma (So., C, Clearbrook, Minn.) at catcher. The Mules extended their lead to 3-1 as Kole Ficken doubled to left field to plate Harrison Schnurbusch and Sinks.

    UMC opened up the top of the fifth as Fussy reached on a walk, and Hunter Baldwin (R-Jr., 3B/1B, St. Thomas, N.D.) was hit by a pitch. Jones got out of danger for the Mules as he got three-straight outs to hold the game at 3-1.

    Central Missouri extended their lead with a three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Janvrin delivered the big hit as he singled up the middle to plate Zak Whalin and Evans, widening the gap to 5-1. An Erik Webb sacrifice fly to right field drove in Janvrin to extend the advantage to 6-1.

    UMC made a dent in the Central Missouri lead in the top of the sixth as Fussy came through with a two RBI single to left, driving in Reller and Hjelle to cut the lead to 6-3.

    The Mules added a security run in the bottom of the sixth when Evans doubled to left center to plate Schnurbusch and push the advantage out to 7-3.

    UMC got runs back in the top of the seventh. Mason Ruhlman (Jr., 2B, Algonac, Mich.) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Landyn Swenson (Jr., OF, Devils Lake, N.D.) and slice the lead to 7-4. Reller then laced a single to right field to bring in Jorgenson and cut it to 7-5.

    An infield single for Sinks drove in Whalin to make it 8-5. Schnurbusch then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Janvrin, making the score 9-5.

    The Mules put a stamp on the win with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Dalton Dull started it off with a solo shot over the left field wall to push the lead to 10-5. Evans followed suit with a solo shot to make the advantage 11-5. A Sinks single to score Janvrin drove in the final run and pushed it to 12-5.

    UMC will look to rebound against No. 20 Central Missouri with a doubleheader at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in Warrensburg, Mo. Thurs., Feb. 14.