NCAA BASEBALL: Mustangs split doubleheader vs. Golden Bears

TUCSON, Ariz. – Southwest Minnesota State splits its final doubleheader during its 12-game trip to Arizona today defeating Concordia-St. Paul 9-4, before losing in the bottom of the seventh 5-4 in game two at Memorial Stadium at the Kino Sports Complex.

SMSU, 9-6 overall, is 8-3 during its spring trip and will conclude play in Arizona at 11 a.m. today with a single nine-inning game versus Minot State. Concordia is now 6-2 on the season.

Game 1

In Friday’s opener, SMSU pushed across the first run in the second inning as Austin Stubbs reached via a hit by pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a double down the left field line by Brandan Alfson to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.

Concordia answered right back in the top of the third using a one-out walk, a ground out and then a two-out single to tie the game at 1-1.

SMSU regained the lead in the home half of the third as Ryan Engels reached on a hit by pitch, before moving to second on a ground out by Ben Korger. Jordon Kontz then slapped a single through the right side to score Engels and give SMSU a 2-1 advantage.

The Mustangs added to the lead in the fourth as Patrick Rients started the frame with a double off the center field wall and later scored on an RBI ground out by Sam Haas.

The Golden Bears tied the game back up in the top of the fifth with a two-out, two-run double, but again SMSU has an answer to put the game away. Engels started the inning with a single and then moved to third on a double by Korger. Kontz then dropped a single down the right field line to score Engels, before Jon Ellis hit into a double play to score another run and make the score 5-3.

SMSU wasn’t done as Stubbs walked and scored two batters later on a single by Alfson. Haas then ripped a deep double in the left-center field gap to score two more runs, before Jarred Carlson closed the scoring with a run-scoring single to plate Haas and make the score 9-3.

Jimmy Callahan (2-0) tossed the complete game for SMSU, allowing four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

SMSU had 10 hits in game one with Kontz and Alfson each finishing with two hits and two RBI.

“We hit the ball pretty well,” Mustangs coach Paul Blanchard said. “Callahan pitched a complete game. He got behind a little bit in one inning, but was very effective and good before and after that. He was the difference in the game. He pitched a lot of first pitch strikes.”

Game 2

In game two, SMSU opened the scoring pushing across two runs in the top of the second. Stubbs started the inning with a single and was followed by a hit by pitch by Rients and a walk to Haas to load the bases. Josh Hanson then delivered a run-scoring single to score the first run, before Engels was hit by a pitch two batters later with the bases loaded to score the Mustangs’ second run. SMSU had a chance to add to the lead, loading the bases with one out, but a double play ended the inning.

SMSU starting pitcher Alfson, was cruising through the first three innings, but the Golden Bears mounted a rally in the fourth, scoring four runs on five hits with one SMSU error to take a 4-2 lead.

Concordia starting pitcher Yuji Suzuki took over in the middle innings, retiring 12 straight SMSU batters from the second inning to one out in the sixth. Jon Ellis snapped the streak with a single in the sixth and moved to second on a walk to Stubbs, but a pop out and ground out ended the Mustang threat.

The Golden Bears nearly added to the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with no outs. SMSU relief pitcher Ryan Ecalbarger worked out of the jam with a double play and ground out to keep the deficit at 4-2 and give SMSU a chance to tie in the seventh.

SMSU used the momentum in the top of the seventh as Tanner Neale started the rally with a one out single. The Mustangs then took advantage of wildness by Suzuki, as both Engels and Korger were hit by pitches to load the bases. Concordia closer Colton Petron then entered the game and promptly hit Kontz with a pitch to score Neale and make the score 4-3. Ellis then stepped to the plate and worked the count to 3-2, before lofting a sac fly to center field to score Engels and tie the game at 4-4. SMSU nearly took the lead on the next at bat as Stubbs crushed a long drive to left field but the Concordia left fielder caught the drive at the base of the wall.

In the bottom of the seventh, Concordia used a single, a sac bunt and an intentional walk to put runners on first and second until Brooks Beilke smacked a drive to right field that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double and score the winning run.

Alfson tossed the first four innings for SMSU, allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) with one walk and four strikeouts. Willner (1-1) suffered the loss allowing the one run on two hits.

SMSU was held to just five hits in the second game.

Wear and tear was a main concern for Blanchard.

“It was our third game in about 18 hours and I think we were pretty tired,” Blanchard said. “We got to the third and fourth inning and we just kind of ran out of gas.”

The Mustangs will have to muster the strength to play one more game as they take on Minot state today before getting seven days off from games before taking on Minnesota State March 22.

GAME 1

SMSU 9, CONCORDIA-SP 4

CONCORDIA ST. PAUL (AB-R-H-BI): Krekling (cf) 3-1-0-0, Dalton (2b) 4-2-2-0, Poppitz (3b) 3-0-3-4, Beilke (c) 4-0-0-0, Muench (lf) 4-0-1-0, Powell (1b) 4-0-0-0, Kounkel (dh) 2-0-1-0, Bargfrede (rf) 2-0-0-0, Woebke (ph) 1-0-1-0, Eernisse (pr/rf) 0-0-0-0, Fasnacht (ss) 3-1-1-0, Hayes (p) 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 30-4-9-4.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (AB-R-H-BI): Korger (ss) 4-1-1-0, Kontz (c) 3-0-2-2, Ellis (rf) 4-0-0-0, Stubbs (1b) 2-2-1-0, Rients (dh) 2-2-1-0, Alfson (lf) 3-1-2-2, Branson (lf) 0-0-0-0, Haas (cf) 3-1-1-3, Carlson (3b) 3-0-1-1, Engels (2b) 2-2-1-0, Callahan (p) 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-9-10-8.

Concordia-St. Paul001 020 1 – 4

SW Minnesota State011 160 x – 9

E: Korger (9). DP: Concordia St. Paul 1; Southwest Minnesota State 1. LOB: Concordia St. Paul 8; Southwest Minnesota State 3. HBP: Kontz, Stubbs, Engels.

CONCORDIA ST. PAUL (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Hayes (L, 0-1) 6.0-10-9-9-1.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Callahan (W, 2-0), 7.0-9-4-4-3-4.

WP: Hayes 2, Callahan. HBP: Hayes 3 (Stubbs, Engels, Kontz)

GAME 2

CONCORDIA-SP 5, SMSU 4

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (AB-R-H-BI): Korger (ss) 3-0-0-0, Kontz (3b) 3-0-1-1, Ellis (rf) 3-0-1-1, Stubbs (1b) 3-1-1-0, Rients (dh) 2-1-0-0, Haas (cf) 2-0-0-0, Hanson (lf) 3-0-1-1, Branson (lf) 0-0-0-0, Neale (c) 3-1-1-0, Engels (2b) 1-1-0-1, Alfson (p) 0-0-0-0, Ecalbarger (p) 0-0-0-0, Willner (p)0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-4-5-4.

CONCORDIA ST. PAUL (AB-R-H-BI): Krekling (cf) 4-1-1-0, Dalton (lf) 3-1-1-0, Poppitz (3b) 3-1-1-0, Beilke (c) 4-1-2-2, Fasnacht (ss) 3-1-3-1, Muench (rf) 3-0-2-0, Kounkel (dh) 2-0-0-1, Bargfrede (pr) 0-0-0-0, Woebke (1b) 3-0-0-0, LaPorte (2b) 2-0-0-0, Suzuki (p) 0-0-0-0, Petron (p) 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 27-5-10-4.

SW Minnesota State020 000 2 – 4

Concordia-St. Paul000 400 1 – 5

E: Korger; DP: Southwest Minnesota State 2, Concordia St. Paul 2; LOB: Southwest Minnesota State 6, Concordia St. Paul 7; HBP: Engels 2, Korger, Kontz, Rients; SH: Dalton; SF: Ellis.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Alfson 4.0-6-4-3-1-4; Ecalbarger 2.0-2-0-0-1-1; Willner (L, 1-1) 0.1-2-1-1-1-0

CONCORDIA ST. PAUL (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Suzuki 6.1-5-4-4-2-6; Petron (W, 1-0) 0.2-0-0-0-0-0.

HBP: Suzuki 4 (Engels 2, Rients, Korger); Petron (Kontz).