With the two wins, the Golden Eagles are 9-7 overall.
OMAHA, Neb.—It was the start of NSIC play for the Golden Eagles baseball team as weather forced Minnesota Crookston into traveling to Omaha, Neb., to do battle with the Wayne State College Wildcats for a pair of games on Sunday afternoon.
Whatever the Golden Eagles did on their trip to Florida seemed to help as pitching was huge for the Golden Eagles as they swept the Wildcats on Sunday.
With the two wins, the Golden Eagles are 9-7 overall and 2-0 overall, while the Wildcats fall to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
In game one, it was the Zach Rustad (Sr., P, Blaine, Minn.), as Rustad was outstanding, going to entire way for a complete game, one-hit shutout on the day. Rustad went all seven innings on the day, while striking out seven and walking just three on the day. The win for Rustad improves his win-loss record to 2-3 on the season.
The Golden Eagles got on the board first in the top half of the second inning on a Brock Reller (So., OF, Grand Forks, N.D.) hit a solo home run, his third on the season.
The score would stay a 1-0 game until the top of the sixth inning when the Golden Eagles would add some insurance. Reller would be at it again, this time hitting a triple the opposite way, which scored Reed Hjelle (Sr., 1B, East Grand Forks, N.D.) and Ben Thoma (So., C/SS, Gonvick, Minn.) for a 3-0 lead. Reller would eventually score on a Scott Finberg (Jr., 3B, Stillwater, Minn.) sacrifice fly.
That would be more than enough for the senior lefty Rustad, who shut down the Wildcats all game long.
The Golden Eagles were only able to muster just five hits on the game, with two from Reller and one a piece from Hjelle, Bryce Jorgenson (Jr., UT, Thunder Bay, Ontario) and Bobby Chu (Jr., C, Redwood City, Calif.). Reller drove in three RBI’s on the day.
Game two would see a lot more offense between the two teams, as the Golden Eagles would fend off a Wildcat rally to win 6-4.
Game two would be a nine inning game and the Golden Eagles had to use three pitchers in order to defeat the Wildcats. Jayden Grover (Jr., P, Cooperstown, N.D.) would get the start and pitch very well, going 6.0 innings, while allowing three runs on five hits, while striking out five. Crookston product Aaron Hollcraft (Sr., P, Crookston, Minn.) would come in of relief of Grover and get two big outs in the seventh inning. Dalton Grose (R-So., LHP, Waterville, Minn.) earned the save, while going 2.1 innings pitched and striking out two and giving up just one run.
Unlike the first game of the afternoon, the Wildcats would score the first run of the game in the bottom of the first.
The Golden Eagles would fight back to tie the game up with a Mason Ruhlman (Jr., 2B, Algonac, Mich.) solo home run in the top of the third. Minnesota Crookston would continue to use the long ball effectively, this time on a Hjelle solo shot to straight away centerfield for a 2-1 lead.
In the top half of the seventh, the Golden Eagles would use some Wildcats mistakes to put up three runs for a 5-1 lead.
The Wildcats were able to put a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Eagles held on for a 6-4 win and a sweep on the day.
Minnesota Crookston had eight hits in game two, including two-hit games from Jorgenson and Hjelle. The Golden Eagles left just five on base and had two errors in the field.
The Golden Eagles and the Wildcats will wrap up their three game series tomorrow afternoon in Omaha. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.