NCAA BASEBALL: Tourney hopes in jeopardy

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State dropped two important games in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action Tuesday night, losing 7-0 and 7-2 to Concordia St. Paul.

The Mustangs struggled with the top half of the Golden Bears batting order as the No. 1 through No. 5 hitters combined for 22 hits and eight RBI in both contests.

After getting swept by Concordia, the Mustangs have now lost seven straight games and will likely need to win out if they want to crack the NSIC tournament field.

Despite the loss, Mustangs coach Paul Blanchard told his team to keep its hopes up.

“We’ve lost several games in a row and they need to make sure they stay together and don’t point fingers,” Blanchard said. “That kind of stuff happens when you’re losing and when that happens, it’s not any fun. I told them to stay away from that part of it.”

Opposing pitching has been ramped up against the Mustangs in recent weeks as they have faced tougher competition.

John Hayes went the full seven innings for the Golden Bears in game one and struck out nine while allowing just five hits and didn’t walk a batter. In game two, Kevin Woebke pitched six inning and struck out five while allowing two runs on four hits and walking three.

Tyler Brekke, Zach Rengel and Colton Petron each pitched an inning in relief and combined to give up two hits.

“We hit some balls that got caught,” Blanchard said. “They pitched well and put out any rallies we got started. They struck out a lot of our guys. Offensively, we didn’t do much. The pitching against us has been pretty good. It was just a frustrating day.”

Patrick Rients recorded two hits for the Mustangs in game one while Jon Ellis, Bradan Alfson and Sam Haas each finished with one hit.

In game two, Rients recorded one of the team’s two RBI on a sacrifice fly while Jordon Kontz brought in a run on a double.

Rients has been one the team’s few bright spots as of late, compiling home runs and RBI.

He’s someone that was hard to gameplan for.

“Part of it was throw it over and pray,” Golden Bears coach Mark McKenzie said. “We didn’t know whether he was looking for a fastball or a breaking ball. He’s just a good hitter.”

SMSU is in danger of missing the conference tournament for the fourth straight season.

Game 1

CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL 7, SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE 0

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HITTING: Concordia-St. Paul (Kyle Dalton 3-for-5, two singles, double, RBI, run; Drew Turk 4-for-5, four singles, RBI, run; Ryan Poppitz 1-for-5, single, RBI; Brooks Beilke 2-for-4, two singles, two runs; Eric Fasnacht 2-for-4, two singles, run; Joe Muench 2-for-4, two singles, two RBI; Elliot Powell 1-for-3, single, walk, run; Alex LaPorte 1-for-3, single, run); Southwest Minnesota State (Patrick Rients 2-for-3, two singles; Jon Ellis 1-for-3, single; Brandan Alfson 1-for-3, single; Sam Haas 1-for-3, single).

PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Concordia-St. Paul (John Hayes (W) 7.0-5-0-0-0-9); Southwest Minnesota State (Jimmy Callahan (L) 3.0-11-6-6-0-1; Ryan Ecalbarger 4.0-5-1-1-1-2).

Game 2

CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL 7, SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE 2

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HITTING: Concordia-St. Paul (Kyle Dalton 3-for-5, three singles, tRBI, two runs; Drew Turk 1-for-4, single; Ryan Poppitz 2-for-5, double, single, two RBI, run; Brooks Beilke 2-for-5, two singles, two RBI, run; Eric Fasnacht 2-for-5, triple, single, RBI, run; Joe Muench 1-for-5, single; Elliot Powell 1-for-4, single; Alex LaPorte 1-for-2, single, walk, run); Southwest Minnesota State (Ben Korger 1-for-5, single; Jordon Kontz 2-for-3, double, single, RBI; Patrick Rients 1-for-2, single, walk, RBI; Austin Stubbs 1-for-4, single; Ryan Engels 1-for-1, single, walk, two runs).

PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Concordia-St. Paul (Kevin Woebke (W) 6.0-4-2-2-3-5; Tyler Brekke 1.0-0-0-0-0-1; Zach Rengel 1.0-2-0-0-0-0; Colton Petron 1.0-0-0-0-0-0); Southwest Minnesota State (Travis McGlauflin (L) 6.2-7-3-3-2-2; Joe Axelson 1.1-2-1-1-0-1; Steven Wehr 1.0-4-3-3-0-1).