Baseball Wins First Elimination Game, Drops Second in MIAC Semifinal

Posted on May 21st, 2021 by

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team was able to squeeze past Bethel 9-8 in its first MIAC playoff elimination game Friday before suffering a season-ending 10-8 loss to St. Thomas in the second game of the day. The Gusties finish the season 27-7 overall, marking the most single season victories by Gustavus since 2006 (28-12).

Gustavus 9, Bethel 8 | BOX SCORE

The Gusties started quick with three runs on the first inning. Bryce Novak (So., Cleveland) singled and scored on a double to right center by Jack Hanson (Jr., Minnetonka). Hanson then scored on a throwing error, followed by a single by Chris Knowles (Fy., New Ulm) to score Nick Azar (Jr., Edina), who reached on a hit-by-pitch.

Bethel got two runs back in the second with a two-out rally. The Royals took a walk, then singled and doubled for the two runs. The visitors on the scoreboard then tied the game in the third after a walk, stolen base, and a run-scoring ground-ball double play.

Gustavus regained a three-run lead in the fourth. Hanson doubled down the left field line to score Jake Christenson (Sr., Cannon Falls). Cole Pengilly (Sr., Le Sueur) followed with a sac fly to score Novak. Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin) ensued with a double to right center, scoring Hanson for a 6-3 lead.

The Royals responded immediately with four runs on three hits in the fifth for a 7-6 lead. The big hit was a two-out grand slam.

Bethel added a run in the sixth after a walk, stolen base, and RBI single, but the Gusties charged back with two runs in the bottom half to tie the score. Hanson knocked home Christenson with a single and Mocchi was beaned with the bases loaded for a free RBI. But the Royals ended the rally by stranding the bases full.

The Gusties scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth. The Gusties loaded the bases for Knowles, who drew a walk to score Pengilly, but once again the bases were left full.

Damon Rademacher (Sr., Princeton) shut the Royals down in the ninth to pick up his seventh win of the season after throwing four and one-third innings of relief. He allowed two runs on five hits and five strikeouts.

The Gusties collected 15 hits, led by Novak at 4-for-5 with three runs. Hanson batted 3-for-4 with two runs, three RBI, and two doubles.

Gustavus 8, St. Thomas 10 | BOX SCORE

Just like in the first game of the day, the Gusties got off to a hot start with a 2-0 lead in the first. With Novak and Hanson in scoring position, Mocchi delivered a two-run single up the middle.

The Tommies got one run back in the second after a single, passed ball, and another single. Gustavus regained a two-run advantage in the third as Mocchi again singled up the middle, scoring Pengilly, who reached on an error.

The Gusties increased their lead to 4-1 in the fourth as Azar scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Novak. St. Thomas answered in the fifth, scoring a run without a hit. The Tommies used a walk, ground out, wild pitch, and an RBI ground out to score.

After a scoreless sixth, the Tommies tied the score at 4-4 in the seventh, ending Novak’s day on the mound. He finished with a no decision after six and one-third innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two strikeouts.

The Gusties answered in the bottom half with two runs for a 6-4 lead. Dalton Thelen (Jr., Cold Spring) doubled to left center, Novak singled to center, and both scored on a triple to right center by Pengilly.

But the Tommies rallied for four runs in the eighth to take an 8-6 lead. A pop fly to right center was lost in the twilight sky and resulted in a double. That was followed by another double to score a run. A single and a throwing error tied the game. Yet another throwing error gave the Tommies the lead and they went up 8-6 on the third double of the inning.

Azar led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and eventually scored on a two-out single by Novak, cutting the lead to 8-7. The Tommies got two crucial insurance runs in the ninth after three singles.

The Gusties made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth as Mocchi singled up the middle and scored on an error. With a runner on second, the Gusties had the tying run at the plate twice, but a fly out and a ground out ended the game.

Mocchi accounted for a third of the team’s hits, batting 4-for-5 with a run, three RBI, double, and just his second stole base of the season.

The Gusties will now wait for an outside chance at receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, which will be announced Monday.


One Comment

  1. Gregg Aamot says:

    Congratulations on an excellent season, Gusties!