SMSU drops double-header in NSIC opener vs. Augustana

OMAHA, Neb. — The Southwest Minnesota State University baseball team opened the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season on Sunday afternoon with a pair of losses to Augustana University at Creighton Prep. AU won the opener 2-1 in 10 innings and used a three-run fifth inning to pull away for an 8-4 victory in game two. The games were relocated due to poor field conditions in Sioux Falls, S.D.

In game one, the Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first on a two-out home run by Ragan Pinnow.

The first 12 SMSU batters were retired before Isaac Nett smacked an opposite-field home run to left field to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning. Keenan Wenzel later hit a two-out single and stole second but was left in scoring position following a strikeout.

SMSU had opportunities to take the lead later in the game. In the sixth inning, Jake Tauer started the frame with a double and, with no outs, moved to third on a balk. The Mustangs failed to score after a foul-out and back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning with the score tied.

In the seventh, SMSU’s Owen Latendresse reached base on a one-out infield single and promptly stole second. Following a walk to Max Kalenberg, the inning ended on a 6-4-3 double play.

In the ninth, the Mustangs’ Chase McDaniel started the inning by reaching on a fielding error and moved to second with one out on a wild pitch. A ground out advanced him to third, but the inning ended on a fly out to right field.

Mustang starter Ryan Chmielewski fired the first six innings and allowed one run on three hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Brady Brosz tied a career-high with three innings of relief pitching while retiring all nine batters he faced with a career-high five strikeouts.

Chmielewski retired the last six batters he faced in the fifth and sixth innings with Brosz tossing three perfect innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

In the 10th, Brady Petron retired the first two batters he faced, but the Vikings used a two-out walk followed by a two-base wild pitch to put the winning run at third base. Moments later, Augustana’s Spencer Marenco bunted a 1-0 pitch back to Petron, who elected to toss to home, but the late throw allowed the winning run to score.

In game two, AU jumped on the board in the first with a double followed by back-to-back singles to build a 2-0 advantage. The lead increased to 3-0 in the second on a solo home run. In the third, the Vikings pushed across two more runs off of SMSU starter Ansen Dulas to extend the margin to 5-0.

Facing the NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year in Augustana’s Ryan Jares, SMSU put together a big rally in the fourth to keep the game close and pull to within a run.

Robbie Smith started the inning with a lead-off hit-by-pitch and moved to second on a single by McDaniel. Jaxon Haase brought home the first run with an RBI single, while Latendresse hit a run-scoring single to plate the second run of the inning. With two outs, Peyton Nash came through with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Dulas tossed a shutout frame in the bottom of the inning to keep SMSU within a run headed to the fifth. SMSU threatened to score with a lead-off double by Matt Seykora in the fifth, but a strikeout, fly out and ground out kept the Mustangs scoreless.

In the bottom of the fifth, AU took advantage of two walks, a bunt single and a hit-by-pitch to score one run. Cameron Jensen relieved Dulas with the bases loaded before Sam Siegel hit a two-run single to make the score 8-4. .

Dulas (1-1) pitched four-plus innings and allowed eight runs on nine hits with four walks, one hit batter and a strikeout.

The two teams conclude the three-game series on Monday with an 11 a.m. nine-inning game.

SMSU drops to 8-4 (0-2 NSIC) while AU improves to 13-9 (2-0 NSIC).


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