Baseball Claims First MIAC Title Since 1980

Posted on May 4th, 2019 by

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SAINT PETER, Minn. – After dropping the first contest of a doubleheader versus St. Olaf Saturday afternoon, the Gustavus baseball team rallied from a 6-3 deficit in game two to win 10-6 and claim the team’s first MIAC title since 1980.

“The last time we won the conference, I went to school here, and these kids are just so sick and tired of hearing about the last time,” said Head Coach Brad Baker. “So I told them this was your year, it’s super special. From day one our goal was to win the conference and these kids, along with our coaching staff, all bought in. What a batch of kids though, to watch this all day and watch them battle back, it’s incredible.”

Gustavus 9, St. Olaf 14 | Box Score

In a game which featured 31 hits, it was St. Olaf who was able to squeeze out the victory thanks to seven runs in the final two innings.

The Oles took control early, scoring seven runs in the first inning on six hits, a walk, and one Gustie error. The Gusties were able to get one back in the first but it wasn’t until the fourth that they made their mark. A Ryan Moriarty (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) walk started the inning before Ethan Mocchi (So., Champlin, Minn.) hit a no-doubt shot over the left field fence to make the score 7-3. Gustavus then got hits from Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.)Cole Pengilly (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) , Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.), and Sam Archer (Sr., Zimmerman, Minn.) to plate three more runs and pull the score to 7-6.

The Gusties kept their momentum going in the fifth as Dexter Leer (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) hit his first collegiate home run, a two-run shot, before Panning singled and was doubled home by Pengilly to bring the score to 9-7. St. Olaf would answer in the sixth with two runs to even the game at nine apiece. In the seventh, the Oles were able to plate five runs on five hits, and two Gustie errors to go up 14-9 before Gustavus went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to end the contest.

In game one, Pengilly had three hits to go along with three RBI while Panning, Archer, Mocchi, and Leer each had two.

Adam Stockwell (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.)  was credited with the loss on the mound as he allowed one earned run in 0.1 innings of relief. Jack Garrison (Fy., Chanhassen, Minn.) threw 4.2 innings in the middle of the contest and struck out five while allowing two earned runs.

Gustavus 10, St. Olaf 6 | Box Score

After game one and some help from around the league, game two was winner-take-all for the MIAC Championship and it didn’t disappoint. In a game which saw Gustavus post three hits through seven innings of play, all it took was one inning for the Gusties to make a difference.

St. Olaf started game two as it ended game one by notching two runs in the first to take an early lead.

In the bottom of the second the Gusties were able to respond with two runs thanks to a Nathan Lindberg (So., Bloomington, Minn.) sac fly and a dropped fly ball by the Oles to even the game.

The Gusties took their first lead of game two when Pengilly tripled and was driven in by a Berkner sac fly to the warning track to put Gustavus up 3-2.

St. Olaf seemed to pull the momentum back in the fifth when it had four hits, including two home runs, to take a 6-3 lead. Although the Gusties didn’t record a hit in the bottom half, they did use three St. Olaf errors to take a run back and make the score 6-4.

Gavyn Walsh (So., Andover, Minn.), who came on in relief in the top of the fifth, threw 3.1 innings to keep Gustavus in the contest, allowing just two hits and one walk. After scoreless sixth and seventh innings, the Gusties gave Walsh what he deserved in the bottom of the eighth. After a Lindberg single seemed to start a rally, the Oles quickly responded, getting two consecutive outs. Gustavus wasn’t done though, as a Pengilly walk followed by a Berkner single plated one run to make it 6-5 and put runners on the corners. Archer than walked to load the bases before another walk was issued to Jack Hanson (Fy., Minnetonka, Minn.) to tie the game at six. Then Moriarty stepped to the plate in the biggest at-bat of the game and knocked a two-run single up the middle to put Gustavus up 8-6. Mocchi came up next and hit a line drive to the left center gap to plate two more and push the Gustie lead to 10-6 after eight innings

With Walsh still on the hill to start the ninth, a single and hit batter pulled him from the game. Panning came in relief and allowed one hit before striking out the final three batters to secure the victory.

Pengilly and Mocchi each recorded two hits in game two, with Berkner and Moriarty each notching two RBI.

Walsh got the win on the mound with the save going to Panning. Archer started the game on the hill and went 4.1 innings while allowing three runs in the no decision effort.

On Moriarty’s final at-bat, coach Baker said, “I told him last week that he’s going to be the guy that’s going to take us to this championship. He was hurt and he’s missed time, and then he did this, and it was just awesome.”

Moriarty, who’s missed nearly half the team’s games this season with a broken hand, talked us through the moment after the game. “It’s been frustrating trying to get around a broken hand but we’ve taped it up where it doesn’t hurt, and then to be able to come through in that situation is something you always dream of. After game one we talked about how much of a battle it was and how much of a grind it was. We knew they were going to hit the ball because they’re really good hitters. We knew our pitchers were going to slow them down, but they were going to hit, so we just had to hit better than they did. We just always trust ourselves, we’ve come back from a lot of tough situations this year and this was another one.”

As MIAC champions, Gustavus (23-11 overall, 14-6 MIAC) enters the conference playoffs as the No. 1 seed and will face No. 4 Saint Mary’s at 3 p.m. Thursday at CHS Field in St. Paul. The four-team double-elimination playoff also includes No. 2 Saint John’s vs. No. 3 St. Olaf.

 

 


4 Comments

  1. Jenny Kern-Anderson says:

    Way to go Gustie Baseball!!

  2. victor schlefsky says:

    Congrats to Gustie Staff & Team on MIAC Championship run!!!

  3. Rick Hjelm says:

    Congratulations to Brad Baker and his staff. Amazing

  4. victor schlefsky says:

    Congrats to President Becky for her Leadership by providing Coach Baker with the support and freedom to demonstrate how Championships are won !!!

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