Last week, Minnesota Crookston baseball traveled to Florida to compete in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, where it played in six games with the first on Feb. 24.

The Golden Eagles went 4-2 in Florida, improving their record to 5-4 on the season, and are scheduled to play four more games at the tournament this week.

Point Park 7, Minnesota Crookston 3

The Golden Eagles kicked off their Florida swing last Monday with a loss in Winter Haven, brought on by a five-run third inning for Point Park.

The Pioneers got to UMC starter Jayden Grover (Sr., RHP) on a two-RBI double and a three-run homer to take a 5-1 lead. The Golden Eagles scored in the fourth inning, but Point Park answered with two more in the fifth.

Jake Hjelle (Fr., 1B) had two hits, including a seventh-inning triple that brought in UMC’s third and final run.

Minnesota Crookston 9, Point Park 3

In the second game of Monday’s doubleheader, it was the Golden Eagles who used a big inning to power a blowout, in which they racked up 15 hits.

UMC scored six runs in the third inning, giving starting pitcher Connor Richardson (So., RHP) all the support he needed to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Richardson stranded six runners in six innings of one-run ball, while all but one of the Golden Eagles’ starters got a hit. Ben Bryant (So., 2B) and Brad Morris (Jr., OF) had three apiece, while Bryant, Mason Ruhlman (Sr., 2B) and Scott Finberg (Sr., 3B) each drove in two runs.

Minnesota Crookston 15, Florida Tech 12

On Tuesday, the third inning again proved to be crucial, as the Golden Eagles scored eight in the frame, followed by three in the fourth and four in the fifth to build a 15-2 lead. Despite giving up four runs in the bottom of the fifth and five in the sixth, they held on to win in Melbourne.

Ruhlman hit two homers and drove in seven runs, and Ben Thoma (Jr., C/RHP) went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a home run of his own. Bryant and Hjelle each had two hits as well, and Tyler Jochen (Jr., INF) came across the plate three times.

Phil Hindes (Jr., RHP) gave up six runs in five-plus innings, but got the win. Dalton Grose (Sr., LHP) struck out three in 3.1 innings to earn the save.

Rockhurst 9, Minnesota Crookston 2

After UMC’s game Wednesday against Florida Tech was cancelled, they fell to Rockhurst on Thursday in Winter Haven after giving up seven runs in the eighth inning.

The Golden Eagles got a solid start from Matt Nelson (So., RHP), who gave up just two hits and struck out eight in 5.2 innings, but the bullpen was unable to hold on after UMC came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it in the seventh. Rockhurst had just three hits in the eighth, but drew four walks and two hit-by-pitches.

Ruhlman stayed hot on Thursday by going 3-for-4 at the plate. Thoma pitched 1.2 innings and took the loss.

Minnesota Crookston 8, Saint Anselm 0

Grover had one of the best performances of his career in Auburndale on Friday, striking out 14 and giving up just five baserunners in eight innings. He also picked up his first win of the season.

The Golden Eagles surged in the third inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-0 lead. The big blow came off the bat of Brock Reller (Sr., OF), who hit a three-run home run, and Bryant followed Reller’s blast with a two-RBI single.

Bryant and Morris each had two hits. UMC, which had seven hits for the game, scored an additional run in the fifth and sixth innings.

Minnesota Crookston 15, Gannon 1

Minnesota Crookston was back in Winter Haven on Sunday, scoring three in the first, four in the fourth and seven in the sixth inning to run-rule the Knights.

Richardson went six innings, giving up one hit and no runs to improve his record to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 0.50. He got plenty of support from a Golden Eagle lineup that had 13 hits on the day.

Ruhlman went 3-for-3 with two RBI to boost his average to .419. Morris and Reller each had two hits and three RBI, and Landyn Swenson (Sr., OF) had two hits and two RBI as well.

After six games on the week, the Golden Eagles are hitting .304 with an OPS of .860 as a team. On the pitching side, they possess a 4.38 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, allowing opponents to hit .243.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will play four more games in Florida over the next week, beginning with a game against Saint Leo on Monday.

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