Minot State freshman first baseman Celestino Rodriguez has been on tear.
Since April 23, he’s logged at least one RBI in 8 of 10 games.
“He’s got a great approach,” MSU coach Brock Weppler said. “The last couple of weeks he’s using all fields.”
Rodriguez remained warm at the dish during a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader against Minnesota Crookston on Wednesday at Corbett Field.
He drove in a combined six runs and homered in both contests as the Beavers earned a spilt, winning the opener 8-3 while falling 13-5 in the nightcap.
“Sal is seeing the ball really well right now and hitting it hard every time he steps up to the plate,” Weppler said.
Rodriguez hit a no-doubt-about-it solo bomb to left in the bottom of the fourth of Game 1, which got MSU on the board, but still trailing 2-1.
Rodriguez didn’t clear the fence in the fifth inning, but he did manage to hit an opposite field two-out, two-run double that was part of a five-run fifth for the Beavers that gave them a 6-2 advantage.
Junior centerfielder Jordan Schulz and freshman right fielder Michael Borst both recorded two-out RBIs as well.
“It was good to see us getting those big hits,” Weppler said. “Guys were able to go up there and have good at-bats.”
MSU added two more in the sixth and backed by a strong pitching performance by junior Kendall Daniels, the Beavers halted its four-game losing streak.
“Kendal attacked hitters with aggression,” Weppler said.
Daniels struck out 10 Golden Eagles en route to only yielding two earned runs over his seven innings of work, however, for the first few innings he was searching.
“The first three innings I didn’t really have my off-speed pitches,” Daniels said. “After that, I found it and I thought I did pretty good except for that one pitch.”
That one pitch being a fastball over the heart to of the plate that sophomore centerfielder Riley Thompson relocated over the fence, staking the Golden Eagles to an early 2-0 advantage.
Minot State, however, couldn’t duplicate Daniels outing in the nightcap as five pitchers combined to allow 12 hits and 10 earned runs.
“We were a little more disciplined at the plate,” Minnesota Crookston coach Steve Gust said. “We got a few more pitches to hit in that second game because we were disciplined. Our big guys came up and got the job done when it mattered.”
Those big guys – senior first baseman Ryan Haggstrom and classmate designated hitter Kenny Perez – combined to knock in six runs while Haggstrom went yard in the first inning.
MSU junior shortstop Sean Alp hit a solo shot in the bottom of the first that knotted the game at one and Rodriguez hit a two-run dinger in the seventh that pulled Minot State to within four (9-5), but that was as close as the Beavers drew.
Senior Austin Berntson was saddled with the loss after going six innings, surrendering four earned runs on seven hits.
The Beavers host a doubleheader against St. Cloud State on Friday, starting at 4 p.m.
John Denega covers Minot High athletics, Minot State softball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @JohnDenega_MDN.