UMC swept by Minnesota Duluth, crucial series against Minot State awaits

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Will Zimmerman follows through his swing.

The Minnesota Crookston baseball team lost both games of a doubleheader against Minnesota Duluth Wednesday afternoon in Duluth, a sweep that dealt a blow to the Golden Eagles' hopes of hosting the first round of the NSIC Tournament.

UMC (22-8, 17-8 NSIC) blew two late leads in a 9-8 extra-inning loss to the Bulldogs in the first game, and fell 11-8 in the second game.

The Golden Eagles rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the first game, scoring three runs each in the fifth and sixth innings. Brock Reller hit a two-run homer, his 11th of the season, to bring UMC within one run, and Conner Fonger's two-RBI single gave it the lead in the sixth.

UMC's offense nearly overcame an off-day from ace right-hander Jake Dykhoff (5.2 IP, 10 hits, seven runs, eight strikeouts), but Minnesota Duluth was able to rally twice. Henry George tied it at 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double, and Alex Wattermann answered Will Zimmerman's eighth-inning homer with a solo shot of his own in the bottom eighth to extend the game once more.

The Bulldogs (15-22, 12-19 NSIC) prevailed in the ninth inning when Jack Puder hit an infield single with two outs and a runner on third base.

Since the first game, originally scheduled for seven innings, went into extras, the second game only lasted seven innings.

Once again, UMD struck early, taking a 6-1 lead after three innings thanks to home runs by Trevor Gustafson and Sam Tanner. But the Golden Eagles had a response, scoring six runs in the fourth inning to go up 7-6. They did all their damage on home runs: Landyn Swenson hit a grand slam before Reller hit a two-run blast to cap off the surge.

Minnesota Crookston's bullpen couldn't hold onto the lead, however. After the Bulldogs tied it in the fifth inning, Watterman cleared the bases with a three-RBI double to put them ahead for good in the sixth.

UMD's offense rolled all game, as the Bulldogs had 14 hits in both contests. 

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles travel to Minot State for a three-game series starting with a doubleheader Friday followed by a single game Saturday. UMC is currently third in the NSIC standings, while the Beavers (22-14, 20-11) are fifth.

The NSIC Tournament starts next week and will feature the top eight teams in the conference. Seeds one through four will host seeds five through eight in a best-of-three series, with the winners advancing to the final round of the tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. the next week.

Should the Golden Eagles win at least two games against Minot State, they'd be able to clinch a home playoff berth. But the Beavers would jump UMC if they were to win at least two games, and UMC's hosting chances would come down to the results of the series between fourth-place St. Cloud State (20-12, 18-9) and Southwest Minnesota State (12-22, 10-21).

MINNESOTA DULUTH 9, MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 8 (9)

Minnesota Crookston 0-0-1-0-3-3-0-1-0—8-9-1

Minnesota Duluth 1-0-4-0-0-2-0-1-1—9-14-2

  • WP: Liam Blaschko (4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)
  • LP: Brody Sorenson (1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)

MINNESOTA DULUTH 11, MINNESOTA CROOKSTON 8

Minnesota Crookston 0-1-0-6-1-0-0—8-7-0

Minnesota Duluth 0-2-4-0-2-3-X—11-14-2

  • WP: Alex Wattermann (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)
  • LP: Garrett Hohn (1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

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