Minnesota Crookston outlasts Upper Iowa, 10-6, improves to 12-0

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Jake Hjelle digs in during Monday's game against Upper Iowa. Hjelle homered twice and went 4-for-5 with five RBIs in UMC's 10-6 win over the Peacocks.

After a relatively quiet day at the plate Sunday, the Minnesota Crookston baseball team warmed up its bats and put them to use.

Jake Hjelle went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs to lead the Golden Eagles to a 10-6 win over Upper Iowa Monday afternoon in Fayette, Iowa, sweeping the Peacocks to move to 12-0 on the season (8-0 NSIC).

UMC, which had gone three straight games scoring under 10 runs after opening the season with eight such games, went for the sweep of UIU after 1-0 and 6-1 wins Sunday. It had 10 hits, five of them for extra bases, and drew 10 walks in the series finale in a return to relative normalcy.

Hjelle got the Golden Eagles going with a blast to left in the second inning, which also scored Scott Finberg. The Golden Eagles got three more in the third inning, with a Finberg bases-loaded walk and a two-run double by Hjelle making it 5-0.

UMC starter Conner Richardson, who had been cruising for the first four innings, ran into trouble when Ryan Hull homered to lead off the bottom fifth. Richardson let the next three hitters to get on base as well, hastening the arrival of UMC's bullpen. Jackson Schneider and Tyler Hegg couldn't slow UIU's momentum, though, and the Peacocks (3-8, 2-5) scored six in the frame to take the lead.

The Golden Eagles' backs were against the wall in the seventh inning when Upper Iowa retired the middle of the order in Reller and Finberg. But Hjelle picked that moment for his second homer, tying the game at 6-6. An inning later, UMC took the lead for good on Will Zimmerman's RBI double. Ruhlman then doubled home Zimmerman to make it 8-6.

Parker Stroh delivered the finishing blow with a two-run shot in the top of the ninth, scoring Hjelle as well. Hegg, Garrett Hohn and Brody Sorenson closed out the game with 3.2 innings of one-hit ball, Hohn recording the win and Sorenson earning the save.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will take on Augustana in a doubleheader Tuesday in Sioux Falls. The Vikings, the two-time defending NSIC champions, are 9-3 this season and were picked to finish first in the NSIC Preseason Coaches' Poll in January. (UMC was tabbed seventh.)

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON

Minnesota Crookston 0-2-3-0-0-0-1-2-2—10-10-1

Upper Iowa 0-0-0-0-6-0-0-0-0—6-8-1

  • WP: Garrett Hohn (1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
  • LP: Steve Marhefke (1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
  • SV: Brody Sorenson (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 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.