College baseball: Timely hitting lifts West
WORTHINGTON — If breaks were money, the Minnesota West baseball team would have holes in its pockets this spring.
So in the first game of a home doubleheader Monday against Dordt JV, the Bluejays made their own breaks.
Evan Koch, a freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, gave his team the biggest break of all — a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning that plated the winning run in a 7-6 game.
West led Dordt 6-3 before the visitors scored three runs off starting pitcher Rylan Scholtes in the top of the seventh inning — the big hit, a two-out, two-run single by Nate Gerdes that knotted the score at 6-6.
Finally, in the bottom of the first extra inning, after West put runners on first and second and Mark Ferguson bunted them to second and third, Koch came through with a game-winning single.
It was a fastball down the middle, Koch said.
“Just kept my head down and drove it,” he recalled after the game ended.
Trent Carlson, who came on to relieve Scholtes to start the eighth, was the winning pitcher. The Bluejays, who had been struggling at the plate for most of the season, out-hit Dordt 12-9 in the contest.
“We just gotta play smart, do the best we can, and help the pitchers out,” Koch said.
Helping pitchers out was the theme in the second game, too. Trent Carlson started and pitched six innings, walking five and striking out four, and Dustin Pronk came on in the seventh and recorded the save, striking out two. But only two of Dordt’s runs were earned.
Minnesota West won the game, 5-4, because the hitters came through when needed. Scholtes was the big hitting star, going 2-for-2 by clubbing a double and a home run. Both hits were scorched; the two-bagger hit the fence on the fly.
Teammate Brett Larson went 2-for-3 and scored a run. And Taylor Lupton went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Dordt scored two first inning runs and made its 2-0 lead hold up until Minnesota West sent four runs across the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
Minnesota West head coach TD Hostikka said he still isn’t happy with the Jays’ tendency to make errors. But he was a happy man after the last out of the second game was made. He credited all his pitchers for performing well on Monday and added, “The fortunate thing is, the bats helped them out today.”
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Dordt JV 000 210 30 — 6 9 3
Minnesota West 001 311 01 — 7 12 4
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Dordt JV 200 001 1 — 4 6 1
Minnesota West 000 041 x — 5 7 1