The Golden Eagles improve to 18-13 (11-6 NSIC).

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team picked up a split Sat., April 13 with University of Mary at the Roughrider Complex in Watford City, N.D. The Golden Eagles fell narrowly in a 3-2 loss in a seven-inning affair in game one. Minnesota Crookston bounced back with an 11-7 victory in the second tilt propelled by three home runs, including a grand slam by Landyn Swenson (Jr., OF, Devils Lake, N.D.).

    The Golden Eagles improve to 18-13 (11-6 NSIC) with Saturday’s split with the Marauders. Minnesota Crookston is just seven wins from tying the school-record for wins, which is 25 set during the 2016 season. The Golden Eagles also need seven more NSIC wins to set the school-record for conference wins, also set in 2016.

    UMary moves to 12-19 (8-11 NSIC) with the split against the Golden Eagles. Minnesota Crookston is currently tied for fifth in the conference standings with Minot State University. The Golden Eagles have continued one of their best starts in program history.


    The University of Mary scored two runs in the fifth inning to lift them over Minnesota Crookston 3-2 in the first game of the series. The winning run crossed as Nick McCann tripled to right field to drive in Dalton Sauce in the fifth inning.

    Parker McRae earned the win for the Marauders as he allowed two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work with four strikeouts and three walks. Charles Bielejeski shut the door on Minnesota Crookston for the 1.2 inning save, his second of the season, as he allowed just one hit with two strikeouts and a walk.

    Zach Rustad (Sr., LHP, Blaine, Minn.) put forth another quality start for the Golden Eagles, allowing just three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Unfortunately, Rustad was dealt the loss as he moves to 4-5 on the season.

    Louis Gerzin (Sr., RHP, Ely, Minn.) came on in relief and put up a zero in one inning with no hits allowed and two strikeouts.

    The Golden Eagles had six hits on the game guided by Scott Finberg (Jr., 3B, Stillwater, Minn.), who was 1-of-2 with one RBI and a run scored. Bryce Jorgenson (Jr., UT, Thunder Bay, Ontario) went 1-of-3. Travis Conoryea (R-So., OF/C, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) finished 1-of-3 with an RBI, while Brock Reller (So., OF, Grand Forks, N.D.) was 1-of-4 with a run scored.

    The Marauders were propelled by Jesus Payan, who went 2-of-3 with an RBI. Darius Barlas finished 1-of-2 with two runs scored, while McCann was 1-of-3, including the game-winning RBI.

    UMary got out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Payan doubled to center field to drive in Barlas.

    The Golden Eagles started out the top of the third on a great note as Finberg put his sixth home run over the fence to tie the game up 1-1. In the ensuing at-bats, Mason Ruhlman (Jr., 2B, Algonac, Mich.), and Swenson were walked to give Minnesota Crookston two more base runners. However, McRae pitched his way out of trouble to keep the game knotted up 1-1.

    UMary added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first run crossed when Sauce reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in Barlas. Later in the frame, McCann came through with a triple to right field to bring in Sauce to extend the lead to 3-1.

    The Golden Eagles cut the lead to 3-2 when Conoryea singled to left center to bring in Reller. The hit forced UMary to pull McRae in favor of Bielejeski. The reliever for the Marauders walked his first batter faced, but got of any danger to keep the game at 3-2.

    Minnesota Crookston looked to battle in the top of the seventh with a single from Reed Hjelle (Sr., 1B, East Grand Forks, Minn.). Bielejeski got the final out as UMary took the 3-2 win in the first tilt.

Game Two

    The Golden Eagles bounced back as they utilized a six-run top of the third to upend UMary 11-7. Minnesota Crookston was lifted by back-to-back home runs by Hjelle and Swenson as they picked up the Saturday split. Hjelle had two home runs in the game, while Swenson’s was a grand slam.

    Jayden Grover (Jr., RHP, Cooperstown, N.D.) got the start and allowed just three runs on six hits over five innings. Grover struck out eight and gave up three walks with just one extra base hit allowed. Grover moved to 4-2 with Saturday’s game two win.

    Dalton Grose (R-So., LHP, Waterville, Minn.) got his league-leading seventh save as he secured the final out of the game.

    The Marauder loss went to Andrew Brooks as UMary ran into problems in the field with four errors. Brooks pitched 2.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks.

    The Golden Eagles were led by Swenson, who was 2-of-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored, including a grand slam. Hjelle hit two home runs on the game, going 3-of-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Griffin Fussy (R-So., SS, Ham Lake, Minn.) finished 1-of-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Reller was 2-of-4 with a run scored.

    The Marauders were led by Connor Doll, who was 3-of-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Payan finished 3-of-3 with a run scored. McCann was 2-of-4 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Jaxon Ford was 2-of-5 with two runs scored.

    Minnesota Crookston opened up the scoring in the top of the first frame. The first runs of the game crossed when Hjelle belted his team-high seventh home run of the season to plate Swenson to put the Golden Eagles ahead 2-0.

    UMary responded in their half of the first as took a 3-2 lead when Barlas put one over the fence to plate himself, Doll and Ford.

    The Golden Eagles countered in the third. Minnesota Crookston tied up the game 3-3 when Jorgenson reached on a fielding error, allowing Bobby Chu (Jr., C, Redwood City, Calif.) to score. Minnesota Crookston moved into the lead when Swenson pummeled the ball over the left center fence for a grand slam and his first home run at Minnesota Crookston. Hjelle followed suit with a solo shot for  his second blast of the game, and his eighth of the season to put Minnesota Crookston ahead 8-3.

    The Marauders got a run back in the bottom of the sixth as Doll singled up the middle to drive in Ford to cut the deficit to 8-4.

    Minnesota Crookston pushed their lead out to 10-4 in the seventh as Fussy singled up the middle to drive in Reller and Ben Thoma (C/IF, Clearbrook, Minn.).

    The Marauders looked to respond in the bottom of the seventh as they loaded up the bases after William Kranz was walked.  Aaron Hollcraft (Sr., LHP, Crookston, Minn.) got a big strikeout of pinch-hitter Alex Kowski to keep UMary at bay as the Golden Eagles remained in command with a 10-4 lead.

    The Golden Eagles extended their lead to 11-4 when pinch-hitter Jonathan Lund (Sr., 1B/3B, Tolna, N.D.) singled to center field to drive in Jorgenson.

    Esten Beneda (R-Jr., RHP, Lankin, N.D.) opened up the bottom of the ninth by offering walks to Payan and Chris Scott. The Marauders took advantage of the walks as McCann hit a three-run home run to plate himself, Scott and Payan to trim the deficit to 11-7. After Matt Nelson (Fr., RHP, Afton, Minn.) walked Ford to give UMary two on with two out, Grose came on to try to help Minnesota Crookston out of trouble. Grose got the final out of the game as he picked up his seventh save of the year as the Golden Eagles picked up an 11-7 victory over UMary.