Thelen’s Ninth Inning Heroics Secures Baseball Sweep at Bethel

Posted on April 24th, 2021 by

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – Trailing by a run and down to the last out with nobody on base, Bryce Novak (So, Cleveland) kept the game alive with a single and Dalton Thelen (Jr., Cold Spring) ensued with a clutch two-run homer to give the Gustavus baseball team a 5-4 lead at Bethel in the ninth inning, which held for a final to secure the doubleheader sweep. Adding a convincing 9-2 win in game one, the Gusties improve to 17-2 overall and 12-2 in the MIAC, while the Royals drop to 15-11 overall and 9-7 in the league.

Gustavus 9, Bethel 2 | BOX SCORE

Playing as the visitors in game one, Bethel struck early with a leadoff home run in the first inning and held a 1-0 lead through three innings. The Gusties exploded for eight runs in the fourth on as many hits. Three straight singles by Jack Hanson (Jr., Minnetonka), Cole Pengilly (Sr., Le Sueur), and Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin) loaded the bases for Nick Azar (Jr., Edina), who also singled to score Hanson. Chris Knowles (Fy., New Ulm) followed with an RBI sac fly and Patrick Timmer (So., Lakeville) singled home Mocchi to end the Royals starting pitcher’s day. Three batters later, Thelen singled to left to score two more runs. And in his second at-bat of the inning, Hanson belted his sixth homer of the season, scoring three more runs.

The Gusties added an insurance run in the fifth as Azar doubled and Knowles knocked him home with a single to right.

Bethel scored its second run of the game in the seventh but was unable to mount any comeback.

Novak earned the mound win, his second of the season, after pitching five innings with one run on three hits and three strikeouts. Jayce Luna (So., Le Sueur) closed out the final two innings, allowing one run on two hits.

After missing the past seven games, Hanson picked up right where he left off by leading the team at the plate, batting 3-for-4 with two runs and a three-run homer.

Gustavus 5, Bethel 4 | BOX SCORE

Reminiscent of game one, Bethel was able to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning, this time after a leadoff double followed by an RBI single up the middle. The Gusties were able to tie the game in the third on a solo home run by Novak, his third of the season.

The Royals regained the lead in the third after single, stolen base, and RBI double. Bethel then increased its lead to 4-1 in the fourth on three hits.

The visitors chipped away with a run in the sixth as Hanson led off with a double, advanced to third on a single by Pengilly, and scored on a wild pitch. The Gusties continued to close the gap with another run in the eighth. Pengilly doubled down the left field line and scored on a single by Azar to make the score 4-3.

With two down in the top of the ninth, Novak singled down the right field line and Thelen followed with his third home run of the season to take a 5-4 lead.

Having entered the game in the sixth and keeping the Knights at four runs, Damon Rademacher (Sr., Princeton) stayed on the mound for the ninth and earned the win with the help of his defense. After a two-out double put the tying-run on second, Thelen once again came up clutch, this time tracking down a deep fly ball to the warning track in left-center, making a sliding catch in front of the fence for the final out.

Rademacher pitched four scoreless innings to earn his third win of the season. He allowed four hits with one strikeout. Novak (2-5, 2 R, HR) and Pengilly (2-3, R, 2B, BB) led at the plate.

Gustavus and Bethel complete the three-game series at 4 p.m. Monday at the Gustie Baseball Field.

 

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