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College baseball: Bluejay bats silent

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Bluejay Evan Koch connects for a hit during Saturday’s game in Jackson.


JACKSON — The way things went for the Minnesota West baseball team Saturday, it was probably just as well that its doubleheader against Ridgewater College scheduled for Sunday was rained out.

The Bluejays were swept in a home doubleheader against Rochester Technical and Community College in Jackson Saturday, with the home team managing only eight hits on the day while the Yellowjackets banged out 26. The end results were Southern Division losses of 6-0 and 18-0.

The Bluejays also committed seven errors between the two games compared to just one for RCTC.

“They hit the ball a lot harder than we were ever even close to hitting it,” Minnesota West coach TD Hostikka said. “We hit a lot of soft ground balls to second, popups, things like that. We just hit nothing hard at all. Because of that, we didn’t put any pressure on them. And when you’re not scoring, your errors are magnified that much more.”

In the opener, the Yellowjackets put up two runs in the second and held a 3-0 lead until the top of the sixth when they blew the game open. Three more runs essentially put the game away with Kody Knaus keeping the Bluejay lineup at bay.

Minnesota West ended game one with only three hits, including a 2-for-3 performance by Evan Koch. Dustin Pronk took the loss on the hill, going seven innings and allowing six runs — four of which were earned — on eight hits while striking out three.

Things only got worse from there with RCTC putting up nine runs in the third and eight more in the sixth to run away with an 18-0 victory in the nightcap.

Again, the Bluejay hitters were left silent, this time by Jackson County Central graduate Zach Copley. He went the distance and allowed only five hits.

“He pitched a good game,” Hostikka said. “He pitched to contact — he only had two strikeouts — but he made us put the ball in play and his defense made the plays behind him.”

Rylan Scholtes got the start for Minnesota West and was knocked out of the game in the third. He allowed seven earned runs on five hits while striking out two. He and Trent Carlson both hit a double for the Bluejays.

Minnesota West (5-19 overall, 1-9 division) is scheduled to be back on the field at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday against Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa; though that might change. Hostikka said there are a number of teams in the league — including the Bluejays — who have games to make up prior to next Sunday’s deadline to get them in before playoffs.

In the meantime, hitting has become an area of immediate concern.

“We had a couple guys trying to do too much so they weren’t doing what they normally do,” Hostikka said. “Going into (Saturday) our team batting average was .202, so we’d been struggling to hit the ball anyway. When we’re not staying within ourselves, it gets that much worse. If you’re not hitting the ball hard, a lot of teams are going to make those routine plays.”


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