Minnesota Crookston finished its Florida swing last week, playing three games and going 2-1 to improve its record to 8-5 on the season.

The Golden Eagles went 7-3 overall at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, which lasted from Feb. 24 to Mar. 6.

Minnesota Crookston 7, West Virginia Wesleyan 3

On Wednesday in Auburndale, Fla., the Golden Eagles banged out 12 hits, building an early lead and taking control for good with a three-run seventh inning.

Matt Nelson (So., RHP) got the start and pitched well, going six innings, giving up one run, six hits and one walk, while striking out eight. He got support from a first-inning RBI single by Brad Morris (Jr., OF), a fourth-inning homer by Scott Finberg (Sr., 3B) and an RBI by Mason Ruhlman (Sr., 2B) in the fifth inning.

Brock Reller (Jr., OF) singled home a run in the seventh inning, and Finberg went deep for the second time to drive in both and make it 6-1. Reller added a solo shot in the eighth, and that proved to be enough for Ben Thoma (Jr., C/RHP) to pick up a three-inning, four-strikeout save.

Finberg and Morris each had three hits, while Reller had two. Morris fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle. As a team, the Golden Eagles stole seven bases — two apiece from Ben Bryant (So., 2B), Eli Jung (Jr., OF) and Bryce Jorgenson (Sr., OF) and one from Jake Hjelle (Fr., 1B).

Minnesota Crookston 11, University of the Sciences 1

The Golden Eagles’ bats remained hot in Winter Haven on Thursday, They had 14 hits, scoring six runs in the ninth to cap off their fifth straight win.

UMC scored its first two runs in a three-batter span in the first inning: Morris reached on an error, Reller tripled Morris home and Finberg singled in Reller. The Golden Eagles then went four scoreless frames before Morris scored on an RBI groundout by Finberg.

Jayden Grover (Sr., RHP) gave up one run in six innings of work, striking out two, to get the win. Tyler Hegg (So., RHP), Dalton Grose (Sr., LHP) and Gregory Diaz (R-Jr., RHP) combined to hold the Devils to one hit over the final three innings, as UMC scored two runs in the eighth to add a cushion.

The Golden Eagles’ big ninth inning was the product of two three-run homers: one by Reller and one by Jung. Reller’s blast capped off a 4-of-5 day, while Finberg and Thoma each went for three hits, Finberg driving in three.

St. Cloud State 10, Minnesota Crookston 9

On Friday, NSIC rivals met in Leesburg, at the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, for a high-scoring affair which featured 28 hits and five home runs.

UMC starter Connor Richardson (So., RHP) gave up five runs in three innings, but ended up leaving with the lead thanks to a six-run third by the Golden Eagles. Reller drove in two runs with a triple, Finberg singled Reller home, and Thoma and Jung went deep in consecutive at-bats for a 7-5 advantage.

UMC extended the lead in the fifth inning, but the Huskies struck back with a home run and a single to get within 8-7. They took the lead back in the seventh inning against Esten Beneda (Sr., RHP) although only one of those runs was earned: SCSU tied the game on a Beneda error, took the lead on a fielders’ choice and scored its 10th run on an RBI single.

Reller hit his third home run in three games to pull the Golden Eagles within 10-9 in the eighth inning, but that was as close as they came. For the game, Reller went 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Thoma went 2-for-2 with two RBI. Hjelle and Ruhlman had two hits apiece.

UP NEXT: Minnesota Crookston opens up conference play with a three-game series at Winona State on Mar. 14 and 15.

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