Baseball Thumps Saint John’s in MIAC Playoff Opener

Posted on May 12th, 2022 by

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team continued its hot streak at the plate Thursday in the opening round of the MIAC playoffs, beating Saint John’s 17-7 to advance in the winner’s bracket. The Gusties, now 27-12 overall, hit four home runs and had 17 hits in the decisive win, and will face No. 1 seed Bethel at 3 p.m. Friday at CHS Field.

The Gusties got off to a quick start as Bryce Novak (Jr., Cleveland) led off the game with a walk, Jack Hanson (Sr., Minnetonka) reached on an error, and Gavin Baker (Jr., Lakeville) followed with a three-run homer off the left field foul pole. Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin) ensued with another homer and the Gusties led 4-0 after the first.

The Johnnies scored one in the bottom half after a walk and two singles. The second and third innings went scoreless before the Gusties took a 7-1 lead in the fourth. Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) singled and Logan Bjorkman (Jr., Lindstrom) followed with a two-run homer. Novak later reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Hanson.

Saint John’s once again answered in the bottom half with two runs on two hits and two errors, making the score 7-3.

Christian Johnson (Sr., Buffalo) got into a jam in the fifth but worked his way out of it with an inning-ending strikeout, standing two runners on base. Johnson left the game after five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts to earn the win.

Bjorkman started the sixth with his second home run of the day and fourth in the past two games for an 8-3 advantage, but the Johnnies got two runs back in the bottom half on three hits.

Gustavus had an answer in the seventh with a trio of runs. Baker and Mocchi started the frame with singles while Drake Siens (So., Rogers) knocked in Baker with a fielder’s choice. Nick Azar (Sr., Edina) hit a triple to score Siens, and Thelen beat out an infield single to score Azar for an 11-5 lead.

The Johnnies scored a lone run in the eighth after two hits, but the Gusties poured on six runs on six hits and two errors in the ninth to blow the game wide open. Bjorkman, Novak, Hanson, and Mocchi all had RBI hits in the frame.

Saint John’s scored one in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little, too late as Jack Garrison (Sr., Chanhassen) closed the door. Garrison pitched three innings of relief, allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

Hanson (3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI), Mocchi (3-6, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR), and Bjorkman (3-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, SB) led the hit parade. Gustavus increased its school record home run total to 55 this season, and has hit 11 in the past two games.

 

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