Baseball Sweeps Weekend Series

Shawn Pohlmann
spohlmann@css.edu

This past weekend The College of St. Scholastica baseball team played their home opener after their original home opener was rescheduled. They played the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans on Saturday and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles on Sunday.

The Saints came into the game against the Titans following a 10-4 win against the Saint Mary’s University Cardinals and a split in a doubleheader against the No. 4 Warhawks from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Game one against the Titans was a nail biter. The Titans took an early 1-0 lead over the Saints in the first inning. After three scoreless innings, the Titans would take a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth. The Saints answered right back in the bottom of the fifth when they scored four runs, with RBIs coming from junior Andrew Colvard, senior Tyler Duex, and two from junior Brian Minks. In the top of the ninth, the Titans drove in two runs to tie the game at four to force extra-innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Duex reached on an error from the second baseman only to be drove in by a single from freshman Joey Zwak to give the Saints a 5-4 victory in game one.

In game two, the Saints got up early on the Titans by scoring right away when Zwak scored off of a Steven Neutzling single. Despite the early lead, the Titans took a 3-1 lead after the sixth inning. The score stayed 3-1 until the bottom of the 8th when the Saints scored three runs of their own with RBIs going to Minks, sophomore Conor Wollenzien, and sophomore Riley Bernsdorf to take a 4-3 lead. The big 8th inning was enough as the Saints would complete the sweep with a 4-3 victory.

The next day the Saints were back in action as they took on the No. 11 Eagles from UW-La Crosse in a doubleheader. The Eagles got things going right away offensively as they scored two runs in the first inning to take an early lead. The Saints picked up a run of their own in the bottom of the first with an RBI from Wollenzien to set the score at 2-1 in favor of the Eagles after the first inning. The Saints would give up two more runs in the top of the third to dig themselves in a 4-1 hole early in the game. The Saints then crept back in the game in the bottom of the fifth when a single from Wollenzien brought Duex across the plate to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of the Eagles. In the bottom of the seventh, Neutzling hit a two-run home run to tie the game at four. Both teams scored a run in the 8th to eventually send the game into extra innings. The game made it to the bottom of the 12th, which is when Riley Bernsdorf decided to end the game with a solo home run to win the game for the Saints in game one.

Game two was both high scoring and rainy for the majority of the game. The Eagles struck first, scoring off of an infield single. The Saints answered in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs off an RBI from Brian Minks and a two-RBI double from Riley Bernsdorf. At the end of the fourth, the Saints took a 5-2 lead, scoring two more runs with RBIs from Zwak and Neutzling. The Saints struggled in the fifth inning, giving up four runs and losing the lead momentarily going down 6-5 to the Eagles. The Saints quickly took back the lead in the sixth inning after scoring runs from sophomore Tim Munn being hit by a pitch, scoring on a wild pitch, and a two-RBI single from Andrew Colvard to give the Saints a 9-7 lead. An RBI triple from Duex in the bottom of the 8th put the icing on the cake for the Saints as they won 10-7 to complete the sweep over No. 11 UW-La Crosse.

The Saints won important games during that week, splitting the series against No. 4 UW-Whitewater and sweeping both of their weekend series games.

“I think it showed the resilience of our team,” said Bernsdorf. “We were down a couple of times and we never gave up and kept battling and things bounced our way. It shows that we are capable of competing with any team in the country.”

“I would say going 3-1 against [UW-Whitewater and UW- La Crosse] shows how well we can compete with any team in the country,” said Munn. “It is a great confidence booster for us as we get into the heart of our season.”

The Saints went from playing in warm and sunny Florida to playing in cold and rainy Duluth, but it didn’t affect the players.

“Starting our season off in Florida weather was great,” said Munn. “But nothing compares to playing at home in Duluth. It felt great to be back out at Wade this past weekend.”

“It was great to be playing at Wade Stadium,” said Bernsdorf. “The atmosphere there is always tremendous and we always have a great fan base supporting us.”

The Saints start off conference play with an 11-6 record and play on Saturday at home against the University of Minnesota-Morris Cougars in a doubleheader.