St. Paul, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team dropped two games to Hamline University by scores of 4-3 and 6-5 on Sunday afternoon at Midway Stadium. In both games, Gustavus jumped out to early leads in, 3-0 in the game one and 5-0 in game two. Hamline battled its way back in both contests to come away with a pair of one-run victories. Gustavus falls to 4-8 in MIAC play and 11-13 overall, while the Pipers improve to 4-8 in the MIAC and 13-18 overall.
Game One – Gustavus jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning of game one. After two quick outs and Erik Sveen (Excelsior, Minn.) on second base, Boyden Lee (Fergus Falls, Minn.) singled to second, advancing Sveen to third. Sveen proceeded to score on the next play after an error by the Hamline first baseman allowed Lee to advance to third and Tim Miller (Eden Prairie, Minn.) to reach first base safely. With two runners on base, Garrett Fuchs (Cold Spring, Minn.) doubled to right field, scoring Lee from third and Miller from first.
After three innings of scoreless baseball that saw just two hits between Gustavus and Hamline, the Pipers scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2. A double to left field by Hamline outfielder Andy King (Fort Myers, Fla.) scored the first run for Hamline, and a single to center field allowed King to score from second base to give the Pipers two runs.
Hamline would tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Jordan Rubbelke (Minot, N.D.) drove in Richardson in with a ground ball to short.
Gustavus could not produce a hit in the final three innings of the game. Sveen was the only base runner for the Gusties in the final three innings, reaching on an error by the Hamline second baseman in the fifth inning.
Hamline scored its final run in walk-off fashion in the bottom of seventh. Cam Smith (Oakdale, Minn.) pinch-ran for Jordan Buck (Apple Valley, Minn.) after Buck singled to lead off the inning. Smith proceeded to advance to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and then advance to third on a Joe Rubbelke (North St. Paul, Minn.) single. Smith scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Evan Cordell (Lakeville, Minn.), giving Hamline the 4-3 victory.
Freshman pitcher Grant Soderberg (Eden Prairie, Minn.) suffered the loss for the Gusties, giving him a 2-4 record and a 3.19 ERA. Soderberg allowed four runs on five hits in six and two-thirds innings. Boyden Lee was 2-for-3 at the plate, while Garrett Fucks was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a double.
Game Two – The second game of the day for Gustavus was reminiscent of game one. Once again, the Gusties jumped out a big lead, taking a 5-0 lead after two innings. The Pipers proceeded to do what they did in game one and chip away at the Gustavus lead.
Gustavus had a big second inning, with some help from the Hamline defense, scoring four runs on two hits and two Piper errors. The first official hit came five hitters into the inning on a Scott Benjamin (Northfield, Minn.) single to center field scoring Chris Kelly (Prior Lake, Minn.) from third base.
Following the Benjamin single, Drew Block (Rochester, Minn.) hit a home run to right field scoring two runs and giving the Gusties a 5-0 lead. The home run was Block’s third of the season, and his third in the past four games.
The momentum shifted in favor of Hamline the next inning. In the third inning, Hamline scored one runs on three hits to cut the Gustavus lead to 5-1. Gustavus managed two hits in the top of the fourth, but left three runners on base. Hamline then answered again with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the fourth to bring them within two runs with the score at 5-3.
Hamline tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning. After back-to-back walks and no outs for the Pipers, Dan Ellefson (Burnsville, Minn.) laid a sacrifice bunt down to advance the base runners to second and third with no outs. Hamline proceeded to play small ball, as Ben Richardson (Akeny, Iowa) grounded out to the shortstop, allowing a runner to score and putting a runner on third base. A Gustavus error gave Hamline its second run of the inning, tying the game at 5-5.
Hamline scored in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead 6-5 on a Mark Radmacher (Maplewood, Minn.) home run to right field. The homer turned out to be the difference as the Gusties were blanked in the final inning.
Chris Kelly suffered the loss (1-4) after allowing two runs on one hit in one and two-thirds innings. Kellan Euerle pitched the majority, going three and two-thirds innings and allowing three runs on five hits.
Four Gustavus players tallied two hits in the game, as the team finished with a total of 12 in the contest. The Gusties left a total of 12 runners stranded.
The Gustavus baseball team will travel to Arden Hills on Tuesday, April 24 for a doubleheader against the Bethel. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.