Baseball Splits with Saint Mary’s in MIAC Opener

Posted on March 26th, 2021 by

WINONA, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team opened MIAC play Friday at Saint Mary’s and came away with a doubleheader split. The Gusties won game one 10-3 and dropped the second game 9-5. The Gusties are now 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, while the Cardinals are 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.

Gustavus 10, Saint Mary’s 3 | BOX SCORE

The arm of Christian Johnson (Sr., Buffalo) and the bat of Bryce Novak (So., Cleveland) were the headlines of game one. Johnson was stout on the mound in his second start of the season, pitching six shutout innings before giving up three unearned runs in the seventh. He exited the game after six and one-third innings, allowing eight hits with four strikeouts. Novak continued his hot streak at the plate, batting 4-for-5 with a double, RBI, and a run from the leadoff spot.

The Gusties broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with five runs on five hits. Nathan Lindberg (Sr., Bloomington) singled home Cole Pengilly (Sr., Le Sueur), who started the inning with a walk. Patrick Timmer (So., Lakeville) then doubled in Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin), who reached on a single. Nick Azar (Jr., Edina) followed with a sacrifice fly to score Lindberg. Two batters later, Jake Christenson (Sr., Cannon Falls) hit an infield single to score Timmer. Christenson then scored on a double off the bat of Novak for a 5-0 lead.

The Gusties extended their lead to 7-0 in the fifth as Azar hit another sac fly to score Mocchi, who reached on a single. Kathan Decker (So., Apple Valley) then knocked in Lindberg with a single to right.

The final three Gustie runs came in the sixth. Pengilly doubled home Jack Hanson (Jr., Minnetonka) and Novak, who reached on a hit-by-pitch and infield single, respectively. Mocchi then doubled down the left field line to score Pengilly.

Johnson looked to complete the shutout in the seventh but the Cardinals were able to score three runs on three hits and an error. Gavyn Walsh (Sr., Andover) came in relief and was able to get the final two outs to secure the victory.

Novak accounted for four of the Gusties’ 13 hits. Mocchi was also impressive at the plate, batting 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, and an RBI.

Gustavus 5, Saint Mary’s 9 | BOX SCORE

The Gusties rolled their momentum to begin the second game as Novak led off with a double and scored on a single by Hanson. Azar led off the second inning with a walk and later scored on a fielder’s choice for a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, Hanson gave the Gusties a 3-0 advantage with a solo shot over the center field fence.

The Cardinals answered in the bottom half without a hit as the Gusties issued a leadoff walk followed by a throwing error and a passed ball to make the score 3-1.

Gustavus was able to get that run back in the fourth as Azar led off with a hit-by-pitch, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on a wild pitch. The Gusties put up another one-run inning in the fifth as Hanson hit his second homer of the day – and third of the season – over the center field fence. SMU responded in the bottom half by scoring a run on a wild pitch.

The home team erased its deficit in the sixth with three runs on three hits and an error, and took a 9-5 lead in the seventh with four runs on just one hit and two errors. Neither team was able to add to their score the rest of the way and the Gusties took their first loss of the season.

Hanson suffered the mound loss after pitching one and two-thirds innings of relief. Weston Lombard (Sr., Stillwater) started the game and lasted five innings with two runs allowed (one earned) on two hits and seven strikeouts.

The Gustie bats slowed down for the first time this season with just five hits. Hanson led the team at the plate, batting 3-for-5 with two solo homers.

Gustavus returns to its home field Sunday for a non-conference doubleheader against Bethany Lutheran starting at 1 p.m.


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