Cougars take three-game sweep from Crown
The University of Minnesota, Morris baseball team picked up some late season momentum with a three-game sweep of Crown College Friday and Saturday.
The wins improve UMM to 6-17 on the season and 5-7 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
The Cougars used a nine-run seventh inning to put away Crown College for a 20-12 win at Cougar Prairie Field Friday.
A two-run blast from sophomore Jordan Gegen ignited a nine-run rally that lifted the Cougars out of a hitting dual with Crown.
Trailing 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh, senior Nik Randall (who would have a 4-for-4 game) singled and came home on Josh Ledin's follow-up triple. Then Gegen hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center field, giving the Cougars an 11-10 lead.
The home run opened the flood gates as seven of the next eight UMM batters reached base. Gegen would have a third RBI later in the inning when he singled home Randall.
Tom Fox started the game for UMM, going three innings and giving up five runs. He was relieved by Ted Gray, who stalled the Purple Storm for a couple innings, but eventually was replaced by Kyle Blair, who would get the win for his late-inning work.
The Cougars had 20 hits for 20 runs, their largest offensive output of the season. Defensively, they minimized errors, committing just two on the afternoon.
After the game, head coach Mark Fohl said it was the team's ability to string together hits that made the difference. "We've been leaving guys on base most of the season, stranding them," explained Fohl. "Today we were more effective at the plate with runners in scoring position."
The Cougars' momentum continued with a doubleheader win over Crown Saturday.
In game one, the Cougars used the middle innings and strong pitching from Randall to separate for a 6-4 win. Randall picked up the complete game victory, striking out seven batters, walking just one, and and picking up two RBIs to support his efforts.
Both teams picked up runs in the first inning and then Crown crossed two in the top of the third.
The Cougars responded to tie the game when Randall singled home leadoff hitter Nick Bacon. After another hit, a wild pitch and a walk, the bases were loaded for catcher Mike McGill who drew another walk, bringing home Randall.
UMM took the lead in the fourth inning when senior Matt Peterson singled home sophomore Chris Thompson. Peterson scored on a sacrifice fly from Randall a few batters later.
After the third, Randall settled into a tighter rhythm, not allowing Crown another run until the seventh inning.
Bacon finished the game with three hits.
In game two, junior Lee Arvold threw a mirror image of Randall's performance, going the distance, whiffing seven and walking one Crown batter on the way to a 9-5 win.
Peterson led the scoring assault with four RBIs on two doubles, one in the second and one in the third inning.
The Purple Storm touched Arvold for five runs in the first two innings, but he grew stronger as the game went on, retiring the last nine straight Crown batters to end the game.
UMM broke the game open in the third inning, scoring four runs with two outs. Bacon singled home senior Scott Barta for the first run. First-year player Drew Lundquist followed up with another RBI single, scoring Gary Perrington who had walked. Then Peterson doubled to left center, clearing the bases