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Baseball team goes 1-3 over weekend

Photo by Joseph Lovercheck

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

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Wildcat baseball went one and three last week facing Winona State and St. Cloud State in home contests after being moved to Wayne due to snow and field conditions.

In Wayne State’s first contest against the Winona State Warriors, the ’Cats dropped their fourth one-run game in their last five contests.

Sophomore Bryce Bisenius said the Wildcats worked their focus towards trying to make fewer mental mistakes to prepare to see the Warriors.

“We worked on more of a two-strike approach with the hope of minimizing strike outs,” said Bisenius. “We also worked on playing with heart.”

The opener saw Winona State rally from a 4-0 deficit to hand WSC another one run loss with a 5-4 win. Both opening pitchers recorded complete games, but two Wildcat errors led to four unearned runs for the Warriors.

The ’Cats took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, highlighted by a two-run homer over the right field fence from Bisenius. Senior Tanner Simons and freshman Andrew Hanson each added run-scoring singles in the inning.

Winona State started its comeback with three runs in the fourth, two of which were unearned, and then added two more runs in the fifth with two more unearned runs giving the Warriors the 5-4 victory.

“The loss to Winona gave our whole team motivation,” said Bisenius. “We knew we’re such a better team than one who loses five or so in one run ball games. We just wanted to fight our way out of the next one.”

The Wildcats came back in the second contest, with a rally of two runs in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, then collecting the victory with a five-run 10th inning giving the ’Cats an 8-4 win.

“For the second game we adjusted our infield a little, which then changed the lineup a bit more as well,” said Bisenius. “We also got a chance to throw in some younger guys who stepped up for us when we needed it most.”

Winona State scored one run in the first to take a 1-0 lead with WSC tying the score in the top of the third on a single from Simons.

The Warriors produced single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth.

WSC scored two runs without a hit to tie the score at 3-3 on a two-out rally with no runners on base. Senior David Janes, Hanson and Simons all walked to load the bases. Bisenius then reached on a fielding error by the Winona State shortstop to score Janes, making the score 3-2. Junior Travis Miller then hit a grounder to third base and Simons beat the play to third allowing pinch runner sophomore Jackson Petersen to score, tying the game at 3-3.

The Wildcats erupted in the top of the 10th inning, scoring five runs on five hits to take an 8-3 lead. Simons blasted a three-run homer to right field for the big hit of the inning. Freshman Alex Logelin and redshirt freshman Colin Chick each had bunt singles while Miller and Bisenius each singled.

Winona State then scored one run in the bottom of the 10th to make the final score 8-4.

“We saw an opportunity to take the win,” said Bisenius. “We buckled down and got done what we needed to as a team. I think those games prepared us well for St. Cloud, but we just couldn’t capitalize on some little opportunities that we had early in the game to clinch a win we needed.”

St. Cloud State posted victories of 3-1 and 12-4 over WSC in the Saturday afternoon contests.

The opening game saw St. Cloud State’s Shannon Ahern limit the Wildcats to just four hits as the Huskies grasped their two-run victory.

“Going into the St. Cloud series, we knew they were a very good team,” said Bisenius. “We knew we had to try and overcome some of their more powerful arms and take at least one game from them.”

WSC scored their lone run of the game in the top of the first as Hanson walked and scored on a SCSU throwing error to give the ’Cats the 1-0 lead.

St. Cloud State took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the first and added another run in the bottom of the sixth to conclude the pitchers’ duel as Riley Ahern and Wayne State’s sophomore Hunter Wienhoff both fired complete games.

Wayne State had just four hits in the game with Janes going two for three with a pair of singles. Bisenius and Chick also singled.

“They had a pretty solid right hander that overpowered us early,” said Bisenius. “They were a very hard hitting team who knocked the ball around as well allowing them to score often. For the second game, we tried changing our approaches at the plate as well as shifting our players to where they might hit the ball to collect more outs.”

The second contest saw both teams trade runs early on before the Huskies pulled away late for a 12-4 win to complete the sweep over the Wildcats.

The ’Cats opened the scoring with two runs in the first on an RBI double from Miller and a run-scoring single from Bisenius.

After St. Cloud State took a 4-2 lead with four runs in the second inning, the Wildcats clawed their way back to even the score at 4-4 with a pair of runs in the fourth when junior Garret Graveline walked and scored on a triple from Simons with Simons reaching home sweet home on a St. Cloud throwing error.

St. Cloud regained the lead with a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 5-4 advantage.

The Huskies then scored multiple runs in the next three innings and held the Wildcats scoreless to finish the contest with a score of 12-4.

Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader between St. Cloud State and Wayne State was cancelled due to the weather.

“While it’s still early in the week, we’re preparing for Southwest Minnesota State by trying to minimize our mental errors,” said Bisenius. “We’re trying to stay with the same approach of hitting the ball hard on the ground and see less lazy fly balls.”

Wayne State will host Southwest Minnesota State today in 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. contests, followed by Northern State Saturday and Sunday.

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Baseball team goes 1-3 over weekend