Cougars drop three to Northwestern in baseball
The University of Minnesota, Morris baseball team was swept in three games by Northwestern in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play.
The Cougars fall to 4-20 on the season with a 4-8 UMAC record.
In desperate need of a win, the Cougars will get the chance to get back on track at home, with their next 10 games all coming at Cougar Field. Starting off, they get a break from UMAC play in hosting Mayville State on Tuesday, with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.
A pair of homeruns was all it took for Northwestern to steal a 3-2 win from the Cougars Friday, sealing the win with a two-run blast in the eighth.
Holding a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth, Morris starter Jordan Gegen was cruising, holding Northwestern hitless for the last 10 batters. But after a leadoff single in the eighth was moved to second on a bunt, the Eagles brought the go-ahead run to the plate.
Andy Peterson didn't waste the opportunity, sending one over the left field fence to give the Eagles their first lead at 3-2.
Gegen then led off the ninth, and did his best to help his cause with a single to the right side. After moving to second on a single by Scott Peterson, the rally was halted as the Eagles recorded three straight outs to take the game.
The loss squandered a nice start by Gegen, as he threw a complete game, allowing just eight hits with only one walk, also missing an opportunity for his first win, falling to 0-3. However, it was two homeruns allowed that did the damage as the Eagles also got their first run on a round-tripper in the fifth. Gegen's run of 10 batters without allowing a hit began after the first homerun.
The Cougars took the lead in just the second inning, with Mike McGill coming home from third when Peterson stole second.
After Gegen and the Cougars worked out of a jam in the bottom of the second - getting the second out at home before a bases-loaded ground out to end the inning - they added to their lead with one in the third. Kyle Grote knocked a leadoff single to left, eventually scoring on an RBI from Dustin Sauter.
Grote finished with two hits on the day to lead the Cougars, who collected six as a team. They missed a chance to give the Eagles their first loss of the month, as Northwestern comes back to win their sixth straight.
Despite scoring in the top of the first in each game, the Cougars fell twice to Northwestern Saturday, first 4-2 and later 7-6, giving the Eagles a sweep of the weekend series in the process.
The Cougars were actually up 2-0 before the Eagles got on the board in the first game, out hitting them 7-6 in the loss. Sauter and Nick Perrotte each had RBIs as the Cougars built up the lead, with Perrotte getting a two-out single for the second run.
After a perfect first, Cougar starter Jake Johnson got stung for one in the second, before the Eagles took their first lead with a two-run third. Two sacrifice flies were all it took, and Northwestern went ahead 3-2.
Johnson went on to finish the game, allowing just six hits, with one walk, but the four runs allowed were too much for the Cougars to overcome. He also gave up one lone run in the fourth, before working a perfect fifth and sixth.
In the second game, the Cougars struggled early, giving up seven first-inning runs. A two-out error allowed the first run to score and kept the inning alive. Starter Logan Orazem walked the bases loaded before walking in three runs, and could not make it out of the inning.
Ted Gray came in to finish the inning, and was nearly flawless in finishing the game. Gray kept the Cougars alive, throwing 5.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing just five harmless hits as the Cougars began to chip away.
Still trailing 7-1 heading into the fifth, the Cougars added three more to cut the lead to three. Sauter again knocked one in, as did McGill and Chris Thompson as six Cougars collected hits in the inning.
After Gray worked a scoreless sixth, the Cougars went in order in the top of the seventh and the comeback came up just one run shy.
Gegen led the team with four hits on the day, while McGill and Sauter each finished with three. Sauter also had a team-high four RBI, while Eric Terres led the way with three runs scored.