St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team split a doubleheader with Bethel University on Thursday afternoon at the Gustie Baseball Field by the final scores of 1-0 and 10-4. The Gusties scored a run in the bottom of the first inning of game one, which proved to be enough for starting pitcher Christopher Kelly (So., Savage, Minn.), who recorded his third straight win in the shutout. In game two, the Royals came out to score four runs in the first and two in the second to grab the early 6-0 lead and would fend off a Gustavus comeback on their way to the 10-4 win. With the split, Gustavus moves to 11-16 overall (8-4 MIAC) while Bethel reaches the 20-win plateau at 20-11 overall (7-7 MIAC).
Game 1 – Gustavus 1, Bethel 0
With a combined six hits between the two teams, describing game one as a pitcher’s duel would be an understatement. After the Gusties scored a run to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, not a single runner would reach third base for either team.
In the Gustavus half of the first inning, Taylor Bigandt (Fr., Littleton, Colo.) led things off with a walk before advancing to second on a balk by Bethel starting pitcher Joe Zorn. Gustavus took advantage of the miscue in the same at-bat as Sam Warrner (Fr., Chanhassen, Minn.) delivered a single up the middle that scored Bigandt with no outs in the inning. The Gusties could do no further damage, however, and settled for the 1-0 lead.
From there, both pitchers settled into a groove on the hill. Bethel threatened in the top of the second inning, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Christopher Kelly got the ground ball out he needed to get Gustavus out of the jam and keep the shutout intact.
For the game, Kelly went all seven innings allowing four hits, striking out three, and surrendering just one walk in the complete game shutout. His counterpart, Joe Zorn, also went the distance and was tagged with the loss. Zorn gave up one run on just two hits, struck out four Gustie batters, and walked two in six innings of work.
Game 2 – Gustavus 4, Bethel 10
After a defensive battle in game one, Bethel turned around and busted out of the gate in game two, scoring four runs in the first inning and two more in the second to take an early 6-0 lead. With two outs and runners on first and second, the Royals rallied to score their four first inning runs on a pair of singles and a double. In the second inning, it was a two-run single by Jared Watts that did the damage.
Gustavus answered with a run in the bottom of the second and three more in the bottom of the third to narrow the gap to 6-4. Kellan Euerle (Jr., St. Cloud, Minn.) led things off in the second with a double down the left field line. After advancing to third on a ground out, Scott Benjamin did the job with a ground out of his own to score Euerle.
In the third inning, a pair of singles put runners on first and second for Drew Block (Sr., Rochester, Minn.). With two outs in the inning, the senior captain delivered with a three-run home run that cut the Royal lead to two runs.
The Royals came right back with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning to swing the momentum back in their favor. David Freed doubled to center field to start things off for Bethel and after being moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, came in to score on a Matt Rowley double. Rowley later scored on a Luke Schultz single and the Royals had some breathing room.
Bethel went on to add two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning as the Gusties could not mount another comeback.
David Freed was awarded the win after four shutout innings in relief. Logan Peymann (So., Fairmont, Minn.) was given the loss after giving up four runs on three hits and walking two in one inning of work.
The Gusties will next travel to Collegeville, Minn. on Saturday, May 4th for an MIAC doubleheader with Saint John’s University. That twin bill is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.