SMSU BASEBALL: Lanoue hits a walk-off double in game two; Mustangs split with UMC
CROOKSTON – The Southwest Minnesota State baseball team (6-19, 5-15 NSIC) split a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader at Minnesota Crookston (20-14, 13-7 NSIC) on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss in game one, as UMC hit a solo homer in the top of the seventh, before SMSU’s Brady Lanoue belted a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to lift SMSU to a thrilling 9-8 victory in game two.
The Mustangs started game one with a single from Nathan Kuhn through the left side followed later by an RBI single from Jayden Fleck to bring Kuhn in to go on the board and gain an early 1-0 lead.
The game remained 1-0 until the fifth when UMC would place a runner on first following a fielding error on the Mustangs with two outs. UMC would come through two batters later with an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
The Mustangs looked to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a single from Connor Johnson followed by a double from Fleck to put runners on second and third with one out. UMC was able to keep the ball in the infield as Tanner Strommen grounded out to keep runners on second and third with two outs. The Golden Eagles intentionally walked Brady Lanoue before Robbie Smith struck out to end the frame.
SMSU sent Teddy Broxterman out to the mound in the seventh, but UMC’s Jonathan Lund hit a one-out pinch-hit solo homer over the fence in left center to put UMC in the lead at 2-1.
The Mustangs once again threatened in the bottom of the seventh putting two runners on with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ended the game and securing the Golden Eagles victory.
Spencer Schroeder started on the mound for SMSU and tossed a solid six innings allowing just two hits and no earned runs with five strikeouts and no walks.
Fleck led SMSU’s eight-hit effort going 3 for 3, while Kip Gronholz added two hits.
The action started in the first inning as UMC brought in three runners off two wild pitches and one passed ball to build an early lead.
The Mustangs began to chip away at the deficit with a double from Fleck to score Andy Andresen in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Golden Eagles added to the lead in the third inning off of Mustang relief pitcher John Bezdeick, scoring another run on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1.
UMC strung together two more runs in the fourth to advance lead to 6-1 with an RBI double while scoring another run on a wild pitch.
SMSU answered with a big fourth inning as Lanoue started the scoring with a sac fly to score Strommen. Derek Smith would later hit a pinch-hit double to score Ben Heichel and cut the lead in half at 6-3. Moments later, Jake Hendricks would smack a pinch-hit, three-run homer to tie the game at 6-6. It was SMSU’s first pinch-hit home run since Bryan Nikkel belted one versus Bemidji State in 2004.
The game wasn’t tied for long as UMC rallied with an RBI single in the fifth to go back in front at 7-6.
The Mustangs came right back in the home half of the frame as Fleck led off the frame with a walk and moved to third on a one-out single by Heichel. Matt Bezdicek then laid down a perfect sac bunt to score Fleck and tie the game at 7-7. SMSU would then take advantage of wild UMC pitching to score another run as Heichel scored on a wild pitch to put SMSU in front at 8-7.
UMC nearly tied the game in the eighth loading the bases with two out, but SMSU reliever Cole Petersen induced a ground out to end the rally and keep SMSU in the lead.
Petersen retired the first two batters in the ninth and was one strike away from securing the victory, but a 1-2 pitch got away and he hit UMC’s Mason Ruhlman to keep the inning alive. Scott Finburg then delivered with a clutch RBI double to tie the game at 8-8.
In the bottom of the ninth, Strommen started the inning reaching on a fielding error. Following a fielder’s choice for the first out and then a stirkeout, Robbie Smith came on to pinch run for Heichel at first base. Lanoue then stepped to the plate and hit a drive to left field allowing Smith to score and give the Mustangs a walk-off victory.
Lanoue and Heichel led the Mustangs with each collecting two of SMSU’s 11 hits.
Petersen earned his first victory this season throwing 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Southwest Minnesota State returns to action Friday and Saturday for a three-game series versus Minot State in Minot, N.D. The game were relocated from Marshall to Minot due to field conditions at Alumni Field. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 1:30 p.m.
of SMSU Athletic