Golden Eagles split with defending NSIC champ Augustana

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Landyn Swenson at bat in a game against Sioux Falls on March 25. Swenson and the Minnesota Crookston baseball team split with Augustana Tuesday afternoon.

The Minnesota Crookston baseball team may have lost its unbeaten record Tuesday in Sioux Falls, but the Golden Eagles didn't come away empty-handed.

UMC split a doubleheader with two-time defending NSIC champion Augustana, losing to the Vikings 13-8 in the first game of the afternoon before rebounding with a 9-5 win.

The Golden Eagles (13-1, 9-1 NSIC) fell into a quick 10-0 hole to Augustana in game one. The Vikings scored two runs in the bottom of the second, and used six hits (two home runs) to power an eight-run third inning that chased starter Jayden Grover from the game.

UMC responded with a Mason Ruhlman two-run homer in the fourth inning, and continued its rally attempt in the sixth inning. Brock Reller drove in a run with an RBI single and Jake Hjelle, after a two-homer game Monday at Upper Iowa, remained hot at the plate, hitting a three-run shot to make it 11-6.

Augustana (10-4, 6-4) scored twice in the bottom of the sixth, leaving the Golden Eagles with their last three outs. Scott Finberg drove in a run on a double and Hjelle hit an infield single for an RBI, but UMC left the bases loaded to end the game.

With the loss, the Golden Eagles' 12-game winning streak, their longest in their history as a Division II program, came to an end. Their previous longest streak was eight games, lasting from Feb. 25, 2018 to March 10, 2018.

Minnesota Crookston quickly turned the tide of the afternoon in the second game. The Golden Eagles' first six batters reached base, enabling them to take a 5-0 lead after the top of the first inning. Finberg and Landyn Swenson were responsible for four of those runs, as each hit two-RBI singles.

Alex Koep gave up two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but the freshman left-hander settled down from there. He went seven innings, giving up nine hits, four runs, walking none and striking out four to pick up the win.

While Koep held the Vikings mostly in check — they scored one run apiece in the fourth and seventh innings, and a run in the eighth against Jake Osowski — UMC added to its lead. Reller hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning, and Will Zimmerman drilled a two-run homer in the fourth inning to make it 8-2. Finberg capped off a productive afternoon with a solo shot in the ninth inning.

At the plate in the first game, UMC was led by Reller, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI, Hjelle (2-for-4, four RBIs), Ruhlman (2-for-4, two RBIs) and Zimmerman (2-for-4). However, the Golden Eagles' normally disciplined offense drew only one walk while striking out 12 times, and in the field, they made five errors.

Finberg (2-for-5, three RBIs) and Zimmerman (2-for-4, two RBIs) led the way in the second game. Eight of Minnesota Crookston's nine starters had at least one hit in a balanced showing.

UP NEXT: UMC will make its home debut Friday afternoon with a doubleheader against Wayne State (5-9, 4-6). The Golden Eagles and Wildcats will play a three-game series, with a single game Saturday afternoon to follow Friday's twinbill.

AUGUSTANA 13, MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 8

Minnesota Crookston 0-0-0-2-0-4-2—8-11-5

Augustana 0-2-8-0-1-2-X—13-13-1

  • WP: Jed Schmidt (4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)
  • LP: Jayden Grover (2.2 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 9, AUGUSTANA 5

Minnesota Crookston 5-1-0-2-0-0-0-0-1—9-11-0

Augustana 2-0-0-1-0-0-1-1-0—5-11-3

  • WP: Alex Koep (7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)
  • LP: Parker Hanson (1.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)
  • SV: Tyler Hegg (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

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