Golden Eagles' bats stay hot to defeat St. Cloud State, 15-11

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Scott Finberg crosses the plate during a game in 2019. Finberg drove in three runs during Minnesota Crookston's 15-11 win over St. Cloud State on Monday.

It might not be possible for the Minnesota Crookston and St. Cloud State baseball teams to play a boring game.

The Huskies beat the Golden Eagles, 10-9, in the final game of the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Sunday, UMC beat SCSU by that same score, winning in walk-off fashion in 11 innings after the Huskies rallied from an 8-3 ninth-inning deficit.

Monday's rematch had 26 runs, 17 of which came in the final three innings. The Golden Eagles blew a big lead late once again. But behind four home runs, 15 hits and 10 walks, they produced enough offense to overcome St. Cloud State, 15-11, at the LaRoche Baseball Complex in Fort Scott, Kan.

Will Zimmerman's two-run home run gave UMC (3-0) the lead in the first inning. Landyn Swenson singled home another run in the second, and Brock Reller, who was named NSIC Player of the Week for his performance in UMC's first two games, hit his fourth home run of the season to make it a 4-0 game in the third inning.

The Huskies (0-3) broke through for two runs against Conner Richardson in the third inning, but the Golden Eagles responded right away. In the fourth inning, Scott Finberg was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, and Jake Hjelle's sacrifice fly scored another.

SCSU's Tyler Schiller and UMC's Eli Jung traded home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Down 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the Huskies mounted a rally, with two two-run homers off of Joey Greco to tie the score at seven.

Minnesota Crookston put up a four-spot of its own in the eighth inning. Finberg drove in two with a double, and an RBI groundout and base hit plated two more. The Golden Eagles drove four more runs in in the ninth inning: Reller tripled to right field to score a run, and Hjelle homered to make it 15-9.

St. Cloud State hit two-run home runs in both the eighth and ninth innings off of Jackson Schneider, but the right-hander worked around those blasts and used plenty of run support to earn the win in relief.

UMC was led at the plate by Swenson, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Hjelle, Reller, Jung and Ben Bryant also had multi-hit games. Hjelle drove in four runs for the game, and Finberg drove in three.

Richardson was solid in his first start of the season, going 5.2 innings while giving up just two runs, four hits, and striking out four.

With the win, the Golden Eagles improved to 3-0 for the first time as an NCAA Division II program.

UP NEXT: UMC finishes its Kansas swing Wednesday morning with a game against Bemidji State. The Golden Eagles routed the Beavers, 23-6, Saturday afternoon in their season opener.

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 15, ST. CLOUD STATE 11

Minnesota Crookston 2-1-1-2-0-0-1-4-4—15-15-2

St. Cloud State 0-0-2-0-0-1-4-2-2—11-11-1

  • WP: Jackson Schneider (2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
  • LP: Nick Brauns (3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

Follow along on Twitter @crookstonsports and @Jacob_Shames for all the latest stories and live game updates.