MSU baseball breaks out the bats to sweep Duluth
There was chatter in the outfield about the whack weather and discussions in the bullpen about the newly released “Avengers: Endgame.” That said, the biggest topic of conversation at Corbett Field on Saturday was Wyatt Schlosser.
The senior put on a show for Senior Day with a pair of three-run home runs, one in each game of the doubleheader, to lift the Minot State baseball team (30-14, 22-8 NSIC) to a four-game weekend sweep of Minnesota Duluth (12-31, 9-22 NSIC). The Beavers took a rain delayed Game 1, 10-7, and then followed that up with a 14-6 victory in the nightcap.
“That was a fun one,” MSU head coach Scott Eul said. “We had a lot of guys do a lot of really good things today, from the top down. Our bench energy was phenomenal, had some guys throw the ball really well and guys swinging it. So, it was a good day.”
The afternoon started gloomy with Duluth jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning and a brief rain delay halting the action.
The Beavers plated four runs in the third inning to even the score at 5-5. Duluth’s Tyler Wojciechowski put the Bulldogs back ahead with a two-run home run to right field in the fourth inning.
MSU’s Darrel Doll knotted the score again on an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth. Then, Schlosser cranked his first three-run homer of the afternoon off the scoreboard in right field to put the Beavers up 10-7.
The sixth-inning blast produced the final runs of the contest.
“It was good. I don’t know what else you could ask for,” Schlosser said about his performance. “Plus, a four-game sweep on top of it. That’s what we were playing for.”
Jaymon Cervantes pitched four scoreless innings to pick up the win in the first game.
Game 2 was a role reversal of the opener with MSU grabbing a quick 4-0 lead — much ado to another Schlosser three-run home run pulled to right field — and Duluth fighting back with three runs in the third inning.
“He is a class act guy and goes about his work every day,” Eul said about Schlosser. “It shows. He came out and had a big day… It was good to see him do that for us. It was real big time.”
Schlosser added: “It’s a game of constant adjustments and reacting. I have been trying to simplify my swing, and I got a couple of good pitches to hit. I just capitalized on it.”
The Beavers racked up 10 runs across the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Everyone was hitting with seven different players picking up RBIs. Schlosser led the way with four, and senior Celestino Rodriguez and junior Ryley Humrighouse each had two RBIs.
Humrighouse capped the scoring and picked up his RBIs with a triple into the right field corner in the sixth inning.
Stepping in to get the final three outs for the Beavers was right-handed pitcher Grant Ponder. The senior had only pitched one inning (allowing four runs off four hits, two of which were home runs) last season against Nebraska-Kearney in a non-conference game.
Ponder shut down Senior Day in style with a 1-2-3 inning to wipe away last year’s appearance. He struck out the first two batters and got a flyout to center field to end it.
“This means a lot. I (compete) with these guys every day, so when they got behind when I got a chance was really awesome,” Ponder said. “It was my first inning in the NSIC, so I thought it went pretty well. I just wanted to throw strikes and get ahead. I know my stuff is good enough to get outs. I got ahead so I could throw my off-speed.”
Minot State has 16 seniors on its roster this season.
“They have put in a ton of work and some of them haven’t seen the innings they wanted this year,” Eul said. “But, they came out ready for us. That’s what good teams do and what professional players do.”
The Beavers play their final two games this season at Corbett Field on Wednesday when they host Bemidji State for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. MSU will then wrap up its regular season with a three-game series against Minnesota Crookston on May 3 (single game at 1 p.m.) and May 4 (doubleheader starting at noon).
The NSIC Tournament begins May 8 in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.