MW Baseball: Bluejays win four in first home stand
WORTHINGTON -- Moist and muddy on Saturday, gray and cold on Sunday, it was typical late-March weather for the Minnesota West baseball team as it hosted Rainy River for four weekend contests at the local college field.It's never easy to be sharp ...
WORTHINGTON -- Moist and muddy on Saturday, gray and cold on Sunday, it was typical late-March weather for the Minnesota West baseball team as it hosted Rainy River for four weekend contests at the local college field.
It’s never easy to be sharp so early in the season. But the Bluejays managed to win all four games of their first 2017 series in Worthington.
“We really hit the ball well this weekend. We had 40 hits in the four games. We ran the bases really hard. We even had some pop. And our pitchers did things we expect them to do,” said head coach TD Hostikka.
In short, the Bluejays did everything Hostikka knew they could do after putting together a 4-15 road campaign prior to the weekend series. Only six of those 19 games were played against Division II teams; the other games were played against teams in higher classes.
“It really showed me that I knew we were ready to compete,” Hostikka said.
His confidence was rewarded Saturday and Sunday against a Rainy River team that placed third in the region in 2016 and brought several veteran players into chilly Worthington.
In the opening game Saturday, West drilled Rainy River 11-0 in five innings, then eased to a 13-4 seven-inning nightcap win. On Sunday, the Bluejays emerged with 6-3 and 13-9 victories.
Eric Alicea Pachero, a left-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico, improved his pitching record to 3-0 in Saturday’s first game by hurling four innings, allowing three hits and striking out two without walking a batter. At the plate, Jahn Muriel went 2-for-3 with a triple, Jeremie Garcia went 2-for-2 with three runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases, and Rey Torres went 2-for-3.
In the second game on Saturday, righthander Jose Martinez, another Puerto Rico product, evened his pitching record at 2-2 by going six innings, allowing three hits and four runs with no walks and six strikeouts.
After collecting 10 hits in the opener, West added 17 more in the second game. Garcia was 3-for-5 with three stolen bases. Pedro Perez Sanchez was 2-for-5 with a double. Philip Olivero was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. And Torres belted a two-run home run.
Minnesota West got another solid pitching performance in its first game on Sunday as Naythan Arroyo, another Puerto Rican lefty, pitched six innings and allowed just two earned runs. Abdiel Robles Garcia set Rainy River down 1-2-3 in the seventh inning to get the save.
Perez was 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs. Olivera was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. And Garcia was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases.
In the final game, West scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to provide itself a four-run cushion after leading just 10-9 after six complete. Jorge Marcano, one of three Bluejay pitchers, earned the win after pitching four and one-third innings and allowing just one run.
Torres, an outfielder from Puerto Rico, hit two more home runs -- a two-run shot and a three-run shot -- to lead the Minnesota West offense. Angel Sanchez Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with two RBI, Perez was 3-for-4 with five RBIs and Muriel was 4-for-5 with four runs scored and four stolen bases.
Rainy River 000 00 -- 0 4 2
Minnesota West 2 6 3 0x -- 11 10 2
Minnesota West 102 102 7 -- 13 17 2
Rainy River 010 021 0 -- 4 3 1
Rainy River 011 010 0 -- 3 2 1
Minnesota West 300 030 x -- 6 10 1
Minnesota West 303 103 3 -- 13 13 2
Rainy River 503 001 0 -- 9 4 1