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College baseball: Minnesota West opens home schedule with split

WORTHINGTON — Alex Rodriguez set the tone for Game 2 after a dismal opening to Minnesota West’s home doubleheader Sunday.

The Bluejays fell 17-1 to Rainy River in the first half of the Easter Sunday matinee. In the second inning of the nightcap, Rodriguez belted a 3-run home run to give his team a lead it never surrendered. West finished the day 7-6 win for a split.

“These guys like to watch things, stats and records for the teams we’re playing,” Jays’ head coach TD Hostikka said of his squad. “When they saw Rainy River came in with a record of 2-6, they didn’t come to play. Rainy River is a very good team. They committed zero errors all day and they took advantage of ours.”

Fielding was without question the most glaring issue facing the home team Sunday. It committed five errors in the opener before seven miscues nearly cost it a win. All six of the Voyageurs’ runs were unearned.

“Nobody can have 12 errors in two games and expect to win,” Hostikka said. “There was one inning where we gave them six outs and the errors we made were routine plays. Good teams will make you pay for that.”

West fell behind 4-0 before Jan Carlos Garcia reached and scored on a Joshua Garcia basehit in the bottom of the third. Rainy River came back with three in the fourth before hanging a 10-spot in the fifth to put it out of reach.

Ricky Garcia fell to 2-1 on the season with the loss for West. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, struck out nine and walked three over four innings. Jan Carlos Garcia was 1-for-1 with a run and two stolen bases with Joshua Garcia going 1-for-1 with an RBI.

The second half of the day went much better.

Rodriguez’s three-run jack put the Bluejays up 3-0. The Voyageurs got one back in the bottom of the inning, but one in the fourth and another three in the fifth got the Jays back in the win column.

Matt Snyder picked up his first collegiate victory on the pitching rubber when he went four innings over which he allowed three runs (zero earned) on three hits and struck out one. Tristin Stibbens got the save, allowing no earned runs and fanning two over two innings of work.

Rodriguez went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, three RBIs and a stolen base. Joshua Garcia was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run and a stolen base. Hector Castro added a 1-for-2, two-run, two-stolen base performance.

The Bluejays (9-7 overall, 0-0 MCAC) get a chance to take the four-game set at 1 p.m. today when they take on Rainy River in another doubleheader.

“If our guys come prepared, I think they could be scary,” Hostikka said.

R H E

Rainy 202 3(10) — 17 11 0

West 001 00 — 1 2 5

R H E

West 030 130 0 — 7 10 7

Rainy 010 212 0 — 6 3 0

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

(507) 376-7335
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