UMC routs Beavers, 17-6, for first 4-0 start in DII era

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Landyn Swenson (1) fist-bumps Eli Jung (15) as Jung crosses the plate after hitting a home run in Minnesota Crookston's 15-11 win over St. Cloud State on Monday, March 8.

What was originally just a torrid start for the Minnesota Crookston baseball team has progressed into a program-record one.

The Golden Eagles crushed Bemidji State, 17-6, in seven innings Wednesday afternoon in Fort Scott, Kan. With the win, they improved to 4-0 for the first time in their history as an NCAA Division II program.

UMC beat Bemidji State, 23-6, in its season opener Saturday before beating St. Cloud State, 10-9, on Sunday and 15-11 on Monday.

The Golden Eagles racked up 17 hits against the Beavers, including six home runs. Will Zimmerman hit two, as did last week's NSIC Player of the Week, Brock Reller. Eli Jung and Scott Finberg also went deep Wednesday.

Reller had a monster game, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs and crossing the plate four times. Zimmerman went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Finberg and Mason Ruhlman also had a pair of hits and RBIs. Ben Bryant and Landyn Swenson also had multi-hit games.

Matt Nelson became the first UMC starter to record a win this season, going five innings, giving up three runs and striking out eight. 

The Golden Eagles got to Bemidji State starter Alex Fietek early. Reller and Finberg slugged back-to-back homers in the first inning for a 4-0 lead. Ruhlman then drove on two runs on a second-inning single, and a double steal allowed Zimmerman to score.

The Beavers (1-4) scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second, but home runs by Jung and Zimmerman and an RBI single by Bryant pushed the UMC lead to 11-1 in the third inning.

Swenson plated a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single, Zimmerman and Reller each homered in the fifth inning to drive in three more, and Reller and Finberg hit consecutive RBI triples in the sixth inning. The Golden Eagles scored in every inning but the seventh.

Bemidji State scored three runs in the seventh inning, including a home run by Logan Barrick.

Among the gaudy stats recorded by Minnesota Crookston over the season's first four games are a .384 batting average, a .519 on-base percentage, a 1.337 on-base plus slugging percentage, 16 home runs and 38 walks. The Golden Eagles have scored in 71 percent of their innings this season.

Eight Golden Eagles are batting above .300, and four — Reller, Ruhlman, Swenson and Zimmerman — are hitting above .400. Seven have an OPS above 1.000. Reller, UMC's preseason NSIC Player to Watch, is batting .500 with six home runs, 15 RBIs and a 2.287 OPS.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles open up NSIC play at Winona State with a doubleheader Saturday, March 20 and a single game Sunday, March 21.

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 17, BEMIDJI STATE 6

Minnesota Crookston 4-3-4-1-3-2-0—17-17-0

Bemidji State 0-1-0-2-0-0-3—6-8-0

  • WP: Matt Nelson (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
  • LP: Alex Fietek (3.2 IP, 10 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 5 BB, 4 K)

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