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College baseball: Minnesota West falls to Anoka-Ramsey

Blake Fauske

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — Execution and errors proved to be the difference Saturday afternoon in a pair of closely contested and highly competitive MCAC conference baseball games between the Minnesota West Bluejays and the Anoka-Ramsey Rams.

Unfortunately for Minnesota West, both ended with it on the wrong end of the final score. Anoka-Ramsey won the first game 6-4 before taking a 19-12 slugfest in game two.

The Rams jumped on Minnesota West starting pitcher Dustin Pronk early. Leadoff hitter Richie Podvin started the game with a double, he was followed by Thomas Kinsella, who singled. With two runners on Sam Krick came up and crushed a three-run home run to straight away center field.

Righty sidewinder Tucker Morrell got the start on the bump for the Rams. Morrell cruised through the first four innings without allowing a base runner, thanks in part to a great diving catch by Krick in the second.

The Rams tacked on two more in the fourth when a two-out error allowed Evan Gaddis to reach. Gaddis was then driven in by Eric Klima. Mason Loegering’s single allowed Klima to score and the Bluejays trailed by five.

The Bluejays didn’t fold however. Rylan Scholtes drew a leadoff walk in the fifth. Evan Koch reached on an error and suddenly the Bluejays were making some noise with two runners on and no outs. Derek Buysee’s groundout advanced the runners and brought up Trent Carlson. He got ahold of one and blasted it over the fence to bring the Jays within two.

Kevin Johnson’s two-out RBI double scratched one more across for the Rams in the fifth.

Evan Koch’s two-out single drove in Pronk and the Jays were back within two.

In the seventh the Bluejays looked to tie it up. Carlson was hit by pitch to start the inning. Brett Larson then singled. Eric Koob laid down a sacrifice bunt and the Jays had runners at second and third with one out and the top of their order due up. Morrell struck out Tristan Sorenson, and induced a groundball off the bat of Erik Jass, who was called out on a close play at first to end the game.

Pronk took the loss after going all seven innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits.

Morrell earned the win as he also went seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out six.

In the second game, it was the Bluejays who opened up the scoring.

Rams’ pitcher Blake Shermer could not find the strike zone as he issued four walks and one run through only two-thirds of an inning. Boomer Johnson was brought on in relief to work out of a bases loaded jam with Trent Carlson at the plate. Carlson, who had three RBIs in game one, stayed hot, smashing a bases-clearing double for three more RBIs.

The Jays snagged one more run in the first.

Clark Hein started pitching for the Bluejays. After stranding the bases loaded in the first, he was again in trouble in the second. He got two outs early but the persistent Rams nailed Hein for five runs, all with two outs.

The Bluejays answered with five runs of their own in the second to take a 9-5 lead.

Back-to-back hits by Gaddis and Podvin in the fifth brought the Rams within three.

Dustin Pronk was sent out to pitch again in relief of Hein.

Kevin Johnson doubled in Billy Herdzina in the sixth as the Rams slowly chipped away at the Jays’ lead. All the while, Boomer Johnson continued to silence the Bluejays’ bats.

“I thought we batted well, but we can’t score nine in the first two innings and not score for the next six,” Bluejay coach TD Hostikka said.

With the Rams down two in the seventh, Loegering led off with a triple. A sacrifice fly by Morrell cut the lead to only one. Pronk got Kinsella to fly out, then Krick hit a grounder to second but the throw by Larson was in the dirt. Scholte picked it but the ball was bobbled and Krick was called safe.

Kevin Johnson came up in the clutch yet again for the Rams with another two-out RBI that tied the game.

Anoka-Ramsey got four runs in the eighth and six in the ninth. Loegering and Krick each hit home runs in the ninth off of Carlson.

Alex Green came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for A-R.

The Jays got three runs but it wasn’t enough and the Bluejays dropped game two.

Boomer Johnson was credited with the win for the Rams, going seven and one-third, striking out seven.

Carlson got the loss for the Jays, after allowing six runs over one inning.

“We can’t afford to give them extra outs, extra outs lead to unearned runs,” Hostikka said. The difference in the first game was two unearned runs. It’s frustrating.”

The Bluejays fall to 5-21 and 1-11 in conference play.


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