Cougars open UMAC play with three-game sweep of Crown
The University of Minnesota, Morris baseball team opened Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play with a 3-0 sweep over visiting Crown Friday and Saturday.
Morris jumped to the top of the UMAC standings with a perfect 3-0 mark, beginning league play with a three-game sweep for the first time since joining the league in 2004.
Led by a pitching gem from Jake Johnson, the Cougars opened UMAC play with a 5-0 win over visiting Crown Friday, March 30.
Johnson pitched his third complete game of the season, scattering eight hits while throwing his first shutout in a Cougar uniform. The imposing 6-4 Johnson struck out a career-high 12 batters, holding the purple Storm in check all day.
He didn't have to wait long for help, as his teammates gave him a lead to work with in just the second inning. After a Jordan Gegen double put Mike McGill on third, Eric Terres sent a grounder up to short, allowing McGill to score and give the Cougars the early lead.
Johnson allowed a couple of harmless hits over the next two innings, and in the fifth, the Cougars added some insurance with a Nick Perrotte single to center, scoring Scott Peterson and Neil Arvold.
After a leadoff double in the sixth, Johnson worked out of the closest thing to a jam he had to face all day. With two outs, the runner on second successfully stole third, and Johnson started the next batter off with three straight balls. The bat never left the batter's shoulders, and after going down 3-0, Johnson came back with three straight strikes to end the inning.
The Cougars added single runs in the sixth and eighth for the final 5-0 margin over the Storm, scoring their first shutout since a 2-0 win over Northland on April 22, 2011.
Johnson fanned at least one in each of the last four innings, and now has 21 in his team high 22.0 innings of work on the season.
Perrotte and McGill each finished with two hits on the day.
Behind the dynamic play of shortstop Eric Terres and a pitching staff that allowed just one earned run over two games, the Cougars wrapped up a three-game series sweep over Crown Saturday, to open conference play 3-0.
Terres went a combined 4-for-4 at the plate over the day's two games, also walking twice, while scoring four runs and knocking in two more. But most impressive was his 5-for-5 mark stealing bases, leaving him 13-of-14 on the young season. Just a freshman, he leads the team with a .371 batting average and nine runs scored.
On the mound, starters Logan Orazem and Ted Gray were equally as effective, allowing just two runs (one earned) while striking out eight batters and walking just four. Each went the distance, charting the first complete games of their careers.
Everyone who played had at least one hit, with Mike McGill, Nick Perrotte and Chris Thompson joining Terres with multiple hit performances. Perrotte leads the team with 14 hits on the year, while his .341 average is third. Kyle Glaser led all players with three RBI on the day, doing all his damage in the first game for the first three RBI of his young career.
In that first game, the Cougars broke open a 1-0 game with a three-run third, putting together a little one-out rally to score three runs on three hits.
Orazem was in cruise control all game, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning, and just five all game. He nearly gave the Cougars their second straight shutout, holding Crown off the board until one harmless run crossed the plate with two outs in the seventh.
Gray allowed just eight hits in his outing, giving up his only run in the fifth, before working out a jam to end the inning and preserve a 3-1 Cougar lead at the time. After a single and a fielding error put a runner on third, the next batter brought him home with a single to center, brining the tying run to the plate with just one out.
Gray then struck out the next batter, but gave up an ensuing single to put runners on first and second with two out. Crown then got their fourth hit of the inning - an infield single to short - but Terres flashed his defensive abilities chasing down the lead runner as he rounded third to tag him out just before he reached the plate, ending the inning.
The Cougars rode the momentum and plated four more runs in the bottom of the inning, banging out five hits and capitalizing on three Storm errors. Gray allowed just one hit over the final two innings as the Cougars closed out the sweep