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Beavers split Wednesday twin-bill

Cardoso’s two homers power MSU to Game 1 walkoff victory

Ryan Ladika/MDN Kaiden Cardoso (second from right) celebrates at home plate with his teammates after his first-inning three-run shot in Game 1. The first baseman hit his second home run of the contest in the sixth inning to lead Minot State to a 7-6 win in the opener.

The Minot State Beavers wrapped up a seven-game homestand Wednesday afternoon with a split of their doubleheader against the St. Cloud State Huskies. The Beavers took the opener in dramatic fashion, walking off St. Cloud State 7-6 in eight innings, but fell in the nightcap 7-3.

The homestand proved fruitful overall for the Beavers, as the squad won four of its seven total games against the Huskies, University of Mary Marauders and Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs.

The offensive output was uneven, but Minot State did enjoy a handful of productive days at the plate, including a 12-2 rout of Mary April 21 and a 24-7 embarrassment of the Mustangs April 25. Their inability to score runs consistently was ultimately what led to the three defeats, games that saw the Beavers outscored 15-9.

Minot State benefitted from a fast start Wednesday, as Noah Myhre trotted out to the mound for his 10th appearance of the season. The right-hander had posted a 4.68 ERA through his first nine opportunities on the bump this year. Despite the relatively lofty mark, his command had not been an issue, as Myhre had punched out 45 batters against just 11 walks allowed in his 28.2 innings of work.

Myhre picked up where he left off in his last start April 25, fanning the first two Huskies he faced Wednesday en route to a perfect top of the first inning. His offense immediately provided him with a trio of runs in support in the bottom half.

Catcher Matt Malone led off with a single against St. Cloud State starter Tommy Thompson, but was thrown out by Drew Bulson attempting to steal second base. Kellen Peat followed with a flyout to right field, and it was up to third baseman Nolan Monthei to spark a two-out rally.

He did just that, smacking his fourth double of the season to set the table for Jake Collins, who walked. First baseman Kaiden Cardoso was next, and he made the most of his opportunity, crushing a three-run home run over the Corbett Field left-center field fence. The long ball, his fourth of the season, gave him a personal two-game home run streak and catapulted the Beavers out to a quick 3-0 lead.

Myhre, no doubt grateful for the early support, set the Huskies down in order in the second, adding another strikeout to his ledger, before pitching himself into a jam into the middle innings. St. Cloud State shortstop Max Gamm led off the third with a triple and scored on a Kyle Rodriguez groundout. The Huskies plated one more in the inning via a Paul Steffensen RBI double and scored four more times in the fourth, chasing Myhre from the game and taking a 6-3 lead.

The Beavers’ relief corps picked up its starter, as Tyler Luban, Garrett Nicholson, Trevyn Badger, Craig Schmich and Cameron Bagshaw combined for eight innings of two-hit baseball, matching Myhre’s five strikeouts without issuing a free pass.

Minot State, after seeing their offensive struggles return following the explosive bottom of the first, evened the game up at six with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Cardoso was again at the center of the fireworks.

Peat led off the frame with a single and later scored on a Collins RBI knock. Cardoso followed with his second home run of the contest and fifth of the season, to plate Minot State’s fifth and sixth runs. His five RBI marked a new season high for the slugging infielder.

Schmich and Nick Brauns traded clean seventh frames, sending the game to extra innings. St. Cloud State threatened in the top of the eighth, as a pair of one out singles eventually landed runners on second and third, but a pair of groundouts induced by Bagshaw prevented another marker on the scoreboard.

The Beavers received their eighth-inning scoring chance almost immediately. Peat was plunked to lead off the frame and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Nolan Monthei singled him to third and stole second base himself to put runners on second and third with nobody out.

Collins was unable to make contact, and St. Cloud State opted to intentionally walk Cardoso rather than risk allowing a hat trick. A struggling Jordan Williams, 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, strode to the plate for his chance with the game hanging in the balance.

The outfielder put the ball in play, and the Huskies infield could not make the play at home plate on Peat, sending the Beavers to a walkoff 7-6 win in the twin-bill’s opener.

Minot State’s issues at the dish reappeared in a 7-3 Game 2 defeat, as the Beavers were able to muster only the trio of runs in a fourth inning that saw seven hitters take their hacks. Collins led off the inning with his third home run of the season and first since April 7.

The Beavers’ second and third runs came around on a Gunnar Kozlowitz RBI single and a Williams run-scoring double, but the Huskies stymied Minot State’s offense the rest of the way, retiring 10 of the final 11 batters they faced.

Minot State will return to the diamond May 1 for an afternoon doubleheader against the University of Minnesota Duluth. First pitch of Game 1 in Duluth, Minnesota is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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