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SMSU BASEBALL: SMSU caps Senior Day with extra-inning win over UMary

Photo by Sam Thiel SMSU’s Kip Gronholz denies a University of Mary baserunner from reaching third safely during their first game on Saturday. SMSU fell to UMary 7-0 in game one and 18-14 in game two on Saturday, but won 6-5 on Sunday.

MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State baseball team has had plenty of heartbreaking losses this season but on ‘Senior Day’ the Mustangs were able to rally from a pair of deficits to earn a 6-5 victory in 10 innings over the University of Mary on Sunday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action at Legion Field.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Mustangs which improves to 12-22 overall, 10-21 NSIC. UMary, battling for a spot in the eight-team NSIC Tournament, drops to 17-17 overall, 14-13 NSIC.

SMSU scored the game-winning on a throwing error by the UMary shortstop to allow Brodie Smith to cross the plate. Brodie Smith started the rally with a one-out walk. Derek Smith then hit a ground ball up the middle that was misplayed allowing Brodie Smith to reach second base. As the play continued, the shortstop attempted to throw out Derek Smith at first base, but the ball sailed into the dugout and allowed Brodie Smith to score from second base.

Shawn Williams (2-3), the final of four SMSU relievers, earned the victory tossing two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts.

SMSU, which left 19 runners on base in a 10-inning loss to UMary on Saturday night, stranded 13 runners on Sunday. The Mustangs closed Sunday’s game with 12 hits with Jake Hendricks finishing 3 for 5 with an RBI, while Hunter Krommenhoek and Brodie Smith each collecting two hits with Smith also scoring three runs.

UMary scored two runs on two hits in the top of the first but SMSU answered in the home half of the frame. Brodie Smith started the rally with a bloop double and was followed by a walk to Derek Smith. A fly out moved Brodie Smith to third before Jake Hendricks ripped an RBI single to right field to score SMSU’s first run. SMSU would later tie the game on a two-out fielding error by the first baseman on a ball hit by Max Kalenberg.

The Marauders went back in front with the long ball in the top of the sixth as Derek Shoen drilled a three-run homer off Mustang reliever Sam Nascak to make the score 5-2. UMary finished the three-game series hitting six home runs, while SMSU was held to zero.

The Mustangs came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth and had a great chance to take the lead. Krommenhoek walked to start the inning and Kip Gronholz followed with a single. Following a pitching change, Brodie Smith smacked a run-scoring double to trim the lead to 5-3. Derek Smith made it 5-4 with an RBI single and one batter later Nathan Kuhn lofted a sac fly to tie the game at 5-5. Hendricks stepped up and smashed a double down the right field line to put runners at second and third with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts kept the game tied at 5 after six innings.

UMary would threaten in the eighth loading the bases with two outs but Brodie Smith made a spectacular running catch crashing into the center field fence to keep the game tied.

SMSU used another run-saving catch to end the ninth as Hendricks made a two-out diving catch to end the inning with a runner on first.

Hayden Molva made the start on the mound for the Mustangs and pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

Southwest Minnesota State will conclude its home season on Wednesday taking on Northern State at Legion Field with a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. SMSU will close the season on Friday and Saturday with a three-game series at St. Cloud State.

Saturday

UMary 7, SMSU 0

UMary 18, SMSU 14 (10 innings)

MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State baseball team rallied from a 12-2 deficit with five runs in the both the eighth and ninth innings to send the game to extra-innings, but the University of Mary would answer with a four-run 10th inning to earn an 18-14 victory in game two of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader on Saturday at Legion Field.

UMary won the opener 7-0 behind a dominating pitching performance from Austin Wagner, while in game two the Marauders’ Calvin James was 5 for 7 with six RBIs and two home runs.

SMSU had 13 hits in game two and took advantage of eight hit by pitches and 10 walks to load the bases in six of the first nine innings but would leave 19 runners on base. It was another gut-wrenching defeat for the Mustangs who have lost a combined 10 games in NSIC play by one run or extra-innings.

Wagner was outstanding, tossing six shutout innings, allowing just two hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Wagner tossed 70 pitches in the six innings with 53 for strikes. It was the second straight outstanding start for Wagner, who last Saturday fired five perfect innings versus Minnesota Duluth.

UMary pushed across a run in the second with a single, a passed ball and two-out RBI double by Dakota Finley.

The Marauders made the score 2-0 in the fourth as Calvin James led-off the frame with a solo home run.

The lead expanded to 5-0 in the fifth behind a pair of hits and two walks and then moved to 7-0 in the sixth on two more hits.

Nathan Kuhn, a double in the first and a Chase McDaniel bunt single in the third, were the only hits allowed by Wagner and reliever Mitch Oehme.

John Bezdicek (4-2) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with nine strikeouts, three walks and two hit batters in 4 2/3 innings.

In game two, UMary put together five hits, including a two-run homer from James to build a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Marauders made it 6-0 in the second with a three-run homer from Ty Jones and then added a solo home run from Derek Shoen in the fourth to push the lead to 7-0.

Trailing 8-0 in the fifth, SMSU was finally able to push across a couple of runs. Matt Bezdicek smacked an RBI ground-rule double to plate Nathan Kuhn and was followed by an RBI single by Kip Gronholz.

UMary countered with a four-run sixth inning to build a 12-2 advantage but SMSU wouldn’t go down without a fight. SMSU had a hit and took advantage of a walk and a pair of hit by pitches to score two runs. Jake Hendricks was hit by a pitch to score the first run with Matt Bezdicek moments later also hit by a pitch to make the score 12-4.

SMSU would leave the bases loaded in the seventh, but finally broke through with a big eighth inning to make things interesting. Hendricks started the rally with a walk and moved to third on a single by Matt Bezdicek and error on the right fielder. McDaniel was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out before Keenan Wenzel drove home a run with a sac fly. SMSU wasn’t done with two outs as Max Kalenberg, Brodie Smith, Derek Smith and Kuhn hit four straight RBI singles to cut the UMary lead to 12-9 and bring the tying run to the plate. The rally however ended with a strikeout.

UMary picked up two of the runs back in the ninth as James drilled a two-run home run–his third home run of the day.

SMSU wouldn’t go away and tied the game in the ninth and was one pitch away from earning the miracle comeback win. The Mustangs scored the five runs on just two hits, but took advantage of two errors and wild Marauder pitching. Kalenberg started the scoring with a two-run single before Brodie Smith hit a ground ball to short that was misplayed to score another run. Derek Smith followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to one-run and moments later Kuhn walked one batter to load the bases with one out. Hendricks would tie the game at 14 with a sac fly to score Brodie Smith. Matt Bezdicek would re-load the bases with a walk bringing up Gronholz. UMary pitcher Paxton Miller would fall behind 3-1 in the count, but he rallied back to end the game-winning attempt for the Mustangs with a strikeout to keep the game tied.

UMary would answer in a big way in the 10th scoring four runs on two hits, two walks and two hit by pitches to take an 18-14 lead.

Kalenberg led the way with a 3 for 5 performance in game two with three RBIs and two runs scored. Matt Bezdicek also had a big game with three hits and two RBIs. Brodie Smith and Derek Smith both added two hits and two RBIs.

Jake Wensmann pitched the first five innings for the Mustangs. He allowed eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Jared Tschetter (2-3) suffered the loss allowing four runs in 1/3 on an inning.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic

Communications

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