MSU baseball uses 10 pitchers in a wild 15-12 win over SMSU
The first pitch of the game was belted over the fence. A surefire sign that it was going to be a long, crazy afternoon.
Ryley Humrighouse’s solo home run to lead off the game was the start of a nine-inning marathon that lasted nearly four hours and featured 27 runs scored, 18 combined walks and a total of 16 pitchers being used. Oh, and not to be forgotten, an untimely rain storm swept through Corbett Field for a few innings as well.
Unfazed by all the craziness, the Minot State baseball team picked up its eighth straight win with a 15-12 victory over Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday.
“Four hour game times aren’t exactly ideal,” MSU head coach Scott Eul said. “But, offensively we swung it really well and played some really good defense to keep us in the ballgame. Pitching, I didn’t see enough strikes out of the bullpen than I would have liked. But, (closer Jack) Gamba came in and shut the door for us.”
The Beavers (26-12, 19-6 NSIC) had an ongoing carousel of pitchers on the mound. Starter Reilly O’Rourke lasted three innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, and then the ball was passed around like a hot potato to eight different MSU pitchers before Gamba came on in the eighth inning to earn a six-out save.
“We had it planned a little bit where we wanted to get some guys some innings,” Eul said. “We wanted to see what they could do for us in a big spot. But, not enough strikes for what we needed.”
Eight of MSU’s 10 pitchers issued at least one walk with 11 free bases given away in total. The Beavers still had arms to spare, as the team is carrying an enormous roster of 48 student-athletes (some of which are redshirting).
“We got a lot of guys in and they got their feet wet,” MSU first baseman Wyatt Schlosser said. “We got to see what else we got in the bullpen.”
A towering two-run homer past the scoreboard in right field by Schlosser helped the Beavers build up a 5-1 lead after the second inning. But, a pair of RBI hits by SMSU’s Ben Heichel and a two-run double by Connor Johnson knotted the score at 5-5 in the fifth inning.
Regaining the lead, MSU’s Jackson Pokorney and Humrighouse each had RBI singles in the sixth, 7-5. Humrighouse went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the game.
Dark clouds had now covered up the sun and rain started to fall. The turf at Corbett Field held its own and the contest pushed on through the precipitation.
“We haven’t played a game in elements like this yet,” Eul said. “So, it was good to see that it didn’t affect us defensively… We battled through it.”
The seventh inning lasted an entirety with rain coming down at a moderate pace. Minot State (playing as the road team) put up a six spot in the top half, but that was matched with seven runs being poured in by the Mustangs (6-22, 5-18 NSIC) in the bottom half.
Now clinging to a 13-12 lead in the top of ninth, MSU senior Michael Borst cranked a two-run blast over the fence in left field to effectively end the scoring how it started, with a home run.
Gamba cleaned up the bottom half with a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the hard-fought win. MSU’s sixth pitcher, Aaron Kern, was credited with the win on the mound.
“I think we know that we still have a lot more to offer,” said Schlosser, who went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. “Game by game we are kind of piecing it together. Hopefully we will head into the conference tournament at full stride.”
If the Beavers want to stretch their current winning streak out to double digits, then they will have to upend No. 5 nationally ranked St. Cloud State (31-7, 19-5 NSIC) twice in a road doubleheader on Wednesday (April 24). First pitch in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Since 2012, St. Cloud State holds a 23-4 overall record against Minot State. Eul was a former assistant coach at St. Cloud State for two seasons before becoming Minot State’s head coach in 2017.
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.