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College baseball: Triple play helps Bluejays get split

BY RYAN MCGAUGHEY

The Globe

WORTHINGTON — TD Hostikka has been around the game of baseball a long time, but he saw something as a coach Tuesday for the first time.

Tucker Sorenson tossed a complete-game three hitter for the Bluejays, shutting out visiting Anoka-Ramsey behind sterling defense as Minnesota West earned a 2-0 victory to salvage a doubleheader split. That outstanding effort was exemplified in the top of the third inning, when the Jays pulled off one of baseball’s rarest occurrences — a triple play.

After a walk and single began the inning for Anoka-Ramsey, a line drive was struck in the direction of second baseman Caleb Andreaus, who caught the ball in the air with his momentum carrying him toward the second-base bag. Andreaus quickly stepped on second for the second out and fired to first baseman Alex Stewart to get the third.

“I’ve coached for a long time and I’ve never coached a triple play,” Hostikka said. “I couldn’t believe what I saw; it was awesome.”

Minnesota West broke through offensively in the bottom of the fourth. Catcher Johny Meises drew a walk, and sophomore Darrius Johnson of Jackson followed with a single up the middle to advance courtesy runner Justin Cornell. Johnson was then replaced with pinch-runner Trisden Brown, and Devin Alfaro’s double to the fence delivered the contest’s only runs.

From there, Sorenson continued to dominate on the mound. He walked just one, struck out five and induced two double plays along with the triple play. He threw just 77 pitches.

“Tucker just pitched wonderful,” Hostikka said. “We had some really good plays in the outfield, and had two diving catches in center field (Joel Barker) and one diving catch in left field (Alfaro).

“Obviously, when a guy throws just 77 pitches, they’re putting the ball in play,” Hostikka continued. “But our defense played very well … and he (Sorenson) struck out two in the seventh to lock it down. It was a really nice win.”

The opener, meanwhile, didn’t go the Bluejays’ way, as Anoka-Ramsey jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first in a 6-2 triumph.

“We made a mental mistake in the first inning that wound up getting them four runs they should never have got,” Hostikka said.

After Anoka-Ramsey got two more runs in the second, the Jays tallied two of their own in the sixth. Stewart smacked a leadoff double, was bunted to third and came home on an RBI single by Andreaus. A balk eventually brought home Andreaus with the second run.

Zach Jahnz took the loss for Minnesota West. He tossed the first four innings, giving up four hits and six earned runs while striking out five and walking three. Olyn Miller went the final three frames on the mound, surrendering two hits while fanning five, walking one and hitting two batters.

Jake Hansen was the offensive star for Anoka-Ramsey in the opener, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of solo home runs.

Minnesota West is 2-4 in Southern Division play and 12-20 overall. Hostikka said he’s pleased with where the team is at this point of the season and is confident it can continue to contend for a postseason spot.

“We’re OK right now,” he said. “We had to have one of those two games today. “If we didn’t … that really would have put us in a bad spot.”

The Bluejays are next scheduled to play divisional leader Riverland in a home doubleheader on Saturday.

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