SMSU BASEBALL: SMSU uses timely hitting and strong pitching for first win

TUCSON, Ariz. – Southwest Minnesota State used timely hitting while four pitchers combined for a five-hit shutout as the Mustangs earned their first victory of the season on Sunday night with a 7-0 win over Bethany Lutheran College at the Tucson Invitational.

SMSU (1-2) started the scoring in the top of the first as Shane Sellner smacked a two-out double and moments later scored on a run-scoring single by Ben Heichel.

SMSU added to the lead in the third as Spencer Rudnik doubled to lead off the frame and moved to third following a single by Jayden Fleck. Jake Hendricks then hit into a double play to score Rudnik and make the score 2-0.

It remained 2-0 until the seventh when SMSU started to pull away. With one out, Liam Lopez walked and was followed by back-to-back singles by Tanner Strommen and Rudnik. Fleck pushed the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single before Hendricks ripped a two-run double to extend the lead to 5-0.

Fleck added to the margin in the ninth belting a two-run homer to make the score 7-0.

The run support was plenty for Mustang starter Cole Petersen, who tosses six innings to secure the win, allowing four hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Jared Tschetter fired 1 1/3 innings of relief, while Shawn Williams worked out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning with 2/3 innings. Josh Cook closed the game with a perfect ninth inning.

Fleck paced SMSU’s 11-hit attack going 3 for 5 with three RBI, while Heichel and Rudnik both finished with a pair of hits.

Bethany was picked to finish second in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Southwest Minnesota State returns to the diamond today facing nationally ranked St. Cloud State starting at 10 a.m.

SATURDAY GAME 1

Presentation College 11, SMSU 10

TUCSON, Ariz. – Presentation College rallied with three runs in the top of the ninth inning to earn a come-from-behind 11-10 win over Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex.

SMSU, playing its first game of the season, held leads of 5-0 and 8-3, but the Saints rallied with two runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth to secure the victory.

SMSU loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but a strikeout and fly out to the warning track ended the comeback attempt.

Shane Sellner paced the SMSU offense with a pair of hits and four RBIs, clubbing a three-run home run and a run-scoring double. Ben Heichel also had two hits and scored a pair of runs to help the SMSU offense.

Justin Clark started on the mound for the Mustangs and tossed five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He recorded five strikeouts and walked one batter.

Alex Jorgenson (0-1), the fourth of five pitchers used by SMSU, took the loss allowing all three runs in the ninth. He entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth with SMSU clinching to a one-run lead. He ended the Saints scoring threat with a strikeout. But in the ninth, the Saints pushed across the winning runs with three hits and a pair of walks.

GAME 2

Ottawa University (Ariz.) 14, SMSU 10

TUCSON, Ariz. -The Southwest Minnesota State baseball team dropped its second game of the day on Saturday to Ottawa University (Ariz.) by a score 14-10 at the Tucson Invitational played at the Kino Sports Complex.

SMSU, which lost its season opener earlier in the day to Presentation College, 11-10, nearly rallied versus Ottawa, but left the bases loaded to end the game for the second straight game.

SMSU trailed 12-3 in the seventh inning, but rallied with four runs in the seventh and added three more in the ninth before falling short.

Ottawa, which defeated St. Cloud State on Friday, picked up its fourth straight win and improves to 7-11 overall.

Brady Lanoue paced SMSU’s 14-hit attack going 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Jayden Fleck, Shane Sellner, Derek Smith and Nathan Kuhn all finished with two hits, while Ben Heichel smacked a two-run home run.

John Bezdicek (0-1) made his first career start for the Mustangs and lasted 3 2/3 innings allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

Teo Rangel tossed the final 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits.

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